About Stroke & Diabetes
Symptoms of stroke start with little warning. They may include:
- Weakness or numbness in the face, arm, or leg (typically on one side of the body)
- Mental confusion and disorientation
- Difficulty talking
- Sudden dizziness and/or loss of balance
- Trouble walking
- Visual disturbance
- Severe headache
Another warning sign of stroke is a transient ischemic attack, called a TIA or mini-stroke. TIA occurs when blood flow is temporarily reduced to the brain. People who have a TIA experience one or more symptoms of stroke, but they resolve on their own. Anyone who suspects that they've had a TIA should let their healthcare provider know immediately.
Treatment and Prevention
For strokes caused by blood clots, immediate treatment (ideally within three hours) with thrombolytic, or "clot busting," drugs is essential to good outcomes. Thrombolytic treatment clears blood vessel blockages and restores blood flow to the brain. Studies have shown that patients who receive clot busting drug treatment within 60 minutes of first stroke symptoms have more complete recoveries.1
Long-term recovery from stroke requires a rehabilitation regimen of physical, speech, social, and occupational therapy. The length and intensity of therapy and the degree of patient recovery depends on the severity of the stroke.
Controlling blood glucose and cholesterol levels, quitting smoking, maintaining good nutrition and exercise habits, and keeping blood pressure in a safe range are the best preventative steps to take against stroke. Patients who have a history of TIAs, or those with known arterial blockages or other risk factors for stroke, may benefit from anticoagulant or antiplatelet drug therapy with warfarin or aspirin. Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors for stroke and appropriate prevention steps.
American Heart Association. Clot-busting drugs effective in patients with unwitnessed strokes http://americanheart.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=949.. (Accessed 04/29/10.)
Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 4/08
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