The symptoms of stroke occur suddenly, without warning. If you notice any of the following symptoms, particularly in a person with diabetes, call for emergency medical assistance:
- Numbness or weakness, often on one side of the body
- Trouble speaking
- Trouble understanding speech
- Problems walking
- Visual disturbances
- Nausea, possibly with vomiting
It is important to go to the emergency room immediately if a stroke is suspected to identify and treat stroke as quickly as possible and to limit the resulting damage to the brain. If doctors suspect that someone has had a stroke, a CT or MRI scan can produce images of the brain that reveal the damaged tissues. A procedure called angiography can help doctors check for blockages in blood vessels of within the brain. In some cases, blood tests may reveal that the patient has an entirely different condition, often treatable, that mimics the symptoms of stroke.
Fortunately, there are several healthy changes that you can make to lower your risk of a stroke:
- Control your blood glucose. Studies have shown that stroke may occur less often in patients with better blood glucose control.
- Lower your blood pressure. Treating high blood pressure can lower your risk of stroke dramatically
- Treat high cholesterol. Ask your health care provider for help lowering your bad cholesterol and raising your good cholesterol. If healthy lifestyle changes don’t work, medications are available.
- Stop smoking. People who smoke have a dramatically higher risk of stroke than those who avoid smoking. Ask your health care provider for help to stop smoking.
- Aspirin therapy. Many patients with diabetes may benefit from aspirin. Ask your health care provider if aspirin therapy is right for you.