Steer clear of a stroke

 uncis nextwatch out If high glucose levels are not controlled, it could lead to blindness, kidney failure etc.  PIC GETTY IMAGESDiabetes mellitus or pre diabetes (a condition where blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be labelled diabetes) increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. According to medical research, two out of three diabetic people die from heart disease or stroke.

Diabetes is a condition caused when the body fails to produce enough insulin or when there is resistance to the action of circulating insulin.

Role of insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas (a gland behind the stomach), that is required by the body to move glucose from the blood stream into the cells of the body where it converted into energy.

The human body converts digested food into energy that sustains the cells in the body. Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose (a form of sugar) and dispersed into the blood stream to be used as energy. When there is deficiency of insulin the cells in the body fail to get the required energy, resulting in a build up of glucose in the blood stream and hence the cells starve.

High glucose levels in the blood can lead to several complications such as heart disease and stroke. It left uncontrolled there could be several other complications like blindness, kidney failure and amputation of the limbs caused by damaged arteries.

Atherosclerosis and stroke

High blood sugar, over a period of time, leads to damaged nerves and blood vessels. There is hardening of the blood vessels and increased deposit of cholesterol on their walls — a process termed as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can lead to narrowing of the blood vessels and also causes increased tendency for clot formation within. These two processes are the ones responsible for most heart attacks and strokes.

A diabetic patent is twice as likely of suffering heart disease or stroke as compared to a normal person. He tends to develop heart disease and stroke at a younger age than people without diabetes. People with diabetes are also more likely to have a second heart attack as compared to healthy people. Women with diabetes are also at a much higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Heart attacks in diabetic patents are generally more serious and and more likely to be fatal.

Prevention

Since diabetes is a chronic disease that can only be controlled, it is very important to heed the advice given by the doctor and to take your daily dose of medication at the right time. Go for regular check ups and monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar regularly.

> Follow a healthy diet. Plan your diet with your doctor. Diabetics require a diet that provides the necessary calories, fibre and protein. Care should be taken to avoid sugar and saturated fats.
>  Regular exercise — follow a programme that optimises your physical activity. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine.
>  Quit smoking

Symptoms         

Common symptoms of heart disease are:
> Chest pain or discomfort
> Pain that runs down the arms
> Pain in the neck and stomach
> Excess breathlessness or perspiration even after short exertion
> Nausea and dizziness
 
In women, the symptoms may be very subtle and difficult to diagnose. A regular check up is very essential.

Common symptoms of stroke:
> Sudden severe headache
> Weakness an numbness that comes on suddenly
> Disorientation and confusion or sudden difficulty in recognising people and speaking
> Dizziness and loss of balance
> Blurred and double vision

If you have the above symptoms it is of utmost importance that you receive treatment at the earliest.

Remember the earlier heart attacks and strokes are recognised, the more effectively they can be treated and complications prevented. Delay in treatment can result in loss of life. So, if there is a suspicion that you or someone around you is having a heart attack or stroke, seek medical help right away.

Keep important telephone numbers and emergency numbers always at hand.

Diabetes is a chronic disease which can throw up sudden surprises in the form of heart attacks and strokes.

Good control of diabetes helps prevent these conditions. Periodic monitoring, regular diet and exercise and strict adherence to the doctors’ treatment are of paramount importance.

If symptoms and signs of heart attack or stroke are noticed, getting medical help quickly can make a difference between life and death.

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