Long-time Diabetics Face Greater Stroke Risk

Having diabetes for 10 years or more may triple a person’s risk of having a stroke.

Additionally, for every year someone has diabetes, their risk of stroke increases three percent, according to a new study published in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association.

“The findings emphasize the chronic nature of diabetes and the fact that it damages the blood vessels over time,” said Dr. Mitchell S. V. Elkind, the study’s author, in a news release from the AHA.

Researchers followed nearly 3,300 people who had never had a stroke. About 22 percent of them had type 2 diabetes at the beginning of the study. After nine years, an additional 10 percent had developed diabetes.

The study revealed that the risk of stroke increased:

  • 70 percent in people with diabetes for less than five years;
  • 80 percent in people with diabetes for five to 10 years;
  • 300 percent in people with diabetes for 10 or more years.

Elkind said people, particularly younger ones, may be able to delay the onset of diabetes by practicing healthy behaviors such as eating nutritious food and exercising. The onset of diabetes may be four to seven years before a doctor makes the diagnosis, according to the AHA press release.

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes. More than half are younger than 65.

“We used to think of type 2 diabetes as a disease people get when they are older, after a lifetime of poor dietary habits,” Elkind said in the release. “But the age at diagnosis is getting younger and younger because of the obesity problem among young people.”

Source: American Heart Association, Stroke

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