Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Select An Article

The Link Between Stroke and Diabetes

Font Size

While multiple studies say diabetes puts you at risk of conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure, a healthy lifestyle and insulin treatments can help keep your risk low.

What Is a Stroke?

In a stroke, one of the many blood vessels that supply your brain with oxygen becomes damaged or blocked. If the blood flow is cut off for more than 3 to 4 minutes, that part of your brain begins to die.

There are two types of strokes:

  • Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by a ruptured artery.
  • Ischemic strokes result from a blocked artery.

Diabetes can also make it harder for your body to respond to a stroke. When your oxygen supply is cut off, other arteries can usually serve as a bypass. But if you have diabetes, those vessels may be hardened or clogged with plaque, a condition known as atherosclerosis. This makes it harder for blood to get to your brain.


High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for stroke. Others include smoking cigarettes and high levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol.


A stroke is an emergency whether you have diabetes or not. If you or someone near you has any of these symptoms, call 911 at once.

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Trouble speaking or understanding words or simple sentences
  • Sudden blurred vision or worse vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble swallowing
  • Dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
  • Brief loss of consciousness
  • Sudden inability to move part of the body (paralysis)
  • Sudden, unexplainable, and intense headache


One treatment for ischemic stroke is a clot-buster drug called tPA, which must be taken within the first 3 hours after stroke symptoms begin. It dissolves the clot that has clogged an artery and can restore blood flow to brain tissue. But this drug isn’t for all people who have an ischemic stroke, especially if you've had major surgery in the previous 2 weeks or recent head trauma.

Also, several new and experimental drugs may stop and even reverse brain damage if taken immediately after a stroke.

Next Article:

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner