The Connection Between Diabetes and Stroke

Nick Rosen, MD
Medically reviewed by Nick Rosen, MDMay 22nd, 2021
woman with diabetes

You may already know that having diabetes can increase your risk of developing other conditions and illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease. But did you know that there’s a link between diabetes and stroke? Here’s the reality: People with diabetes are 1.5 times more likely to have a stroke than people who don’t have diabetes. In this article, we’re diving into why, as well as offering tips on how to reduce your risk of stroke.

How Diabetes Could Contribute to Stroke

A stroke happens when blood flow to your brain is stopped or interrupted, preventing it from receiving essential oxygen and nutrients. And sometimes, excess sugar in the blood can lead to fat deposits or clots within your blood vessels, known as “atherosclerosis.” These deposits can actually narrow your blood vessel walls, sometimes causing a complete blockage, leading to stroke. And since diabetes affects the body’s ability to create insulin—which helps regulate glucose in the bloodstream—people with diabetes are predisposed to develop atherosclerosis.

Symptoms of Stroke to Watch Out For

If you have diabetes, make sure you know the signs of stroke to ensure you receive emergency medical attention as quickly as possible if necessary. The American Stroke Association has developed the acronym

F.A.S.T. to easily recall top stroke symptoms:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 911

Aside from F.A.S.T., other symptoms include:

  • Confusion or difficulty understanding speech
  • Sight problems
  • Dizziness, loss of coordination, or difficulty walking
  • Numbness/weakness in the face or extremities (especially on just one side)
  • A severe, sudden headache

Stroke is a life-threatening emergency. As F.A.S.T. suggests, if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s time to call 911.

Reducing Your Risk of Stroke

Aside from diabetes, here are a few of the top medical risk factors for stroke:

  • High blood pressure
  • Sickle cell disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Circulation issues
  • A history of heart attack, stroke, or TIA

Some of these, like the inherited sickle cell disease, you can’t do much about. But there are ways that you can adjust your lifestyle to reduce risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. Improving your diet, getting daily physical exercise, quitting smoking, and reducing your alcohol consumption can all help reduce your risk of stroke. This becomes even more important as you get older, since the risk of stroke nearly doubles for every decade over the age of 55.

DispatchHealth—Serving People Who Have had a Stroke

A stroke is a life-threatening emergency, so if you have diabetes, it’s essential to learn all you can about the condition and its risk factors. And if you’ve already had a stroke, taking care of yourself needs to be top of mind, as diabetics with a history of stroke are even more at risk.


That’s where DispatchHealth can help. We proudly serve people who have had a stroke, understanding that post-conditions can be difficult to manage alone. We offer same-day, in-home acute care for people with diabetes and who have had a stroke, positioning us to provide the personalized care you need—when you need it.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of a stroke, you should call 911 or head to the emergency room immediately. But if the post-conditions of stroke are making it difficult for you to travel to receive medical care for something else, turn to us to provide convenient, affordable care within the comfort of home. Request a visit online, by phone call, or through our app to receive the treatment you need on your doorstep within a few hours.


DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.

Sources referenced in this article:

The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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