Know and Control Your Blood Sugar and Cholesterol

24.07.2017 |

Episode #9 of the course Stroke prevention: Living longer and better by Marselina Arshakyan


Hi! Today we’re going to discuss the last modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for stroke.

Diabetes and hyperglycemia are independent modifiable risk factors that may raise the chances of having a stroke by 4%. People with diabetes are also more likely to die from stroke or have a more severe disability after a stroke than people with normal blood sugar, and diabetes increased the risk of post-stroke death mainly in people who suffered a hemorrhagic stroke but not an ischemic one.

The reason for the increased stroke risk is basically due to higher chances of clot formation in people with diabetes or prediabetes.

The reason for increased stroke risk with having high blood cholesterol is also explained by plaque buildup and clot formation in blood vessels, which can ultimately lead to a stroke. But here, it’s important to differentiate between two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, generally known as “bad” and “good” cholesterols, respectively.

Particularly in the case of hemorrhagic stroke, it has been shown that while high levels of bad cholesterol were associated with a higher risk of suffering a stroke, the higher levels of good cholesterol seem to be linked with lower risks. Contrarily, lower levels of good cholesterol were associated with a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke; therefore, this data should be taken into account before intensive lipid-lowering therapy.

However, it’s crucial that if you already prescribed medications for diabetes and/or high cholesterol, don’t forget to take them on time!

In any case, lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet and more physical activity or exercising remain the cornerstones of management of high blood sugar and high bad cholesterol levels.


Race can make a difference

While high blood sugar and cholesterol are modifiable risk factors for stroke, so they’re under our control, there is another non-modifiable risk factor, along with age, gender, and family history, and that is our race.

Stroke statistics show that African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Alaska Natives have a much higher risk of stroke than people of other ethnicities.

The results of the REGARDS (REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) study of more than 30,239 black and white volunteers showed that African-Americans die from stroke about two to three times more than whites because they’re having more stroke events. And this is because blacks have more of the most important risk factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

• High blood pressure: Whites 51%, Blacks 71%

• Diabetes: Whites 15%, Blacks 29%

Additionally, blacks show slower recovery after stroke than whites.

Comparing the risks of stroke in Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites, the former has strokes at younger ages. The Northern Manhattan Stroke Study found that the average age for stroke in Hispanics was 67 compared to 80 for non-Hispanic whites.

Tomorrow, we’ll summarize our knowledge on stroke prevention.

Until tomorrow,

Marselina A.


Recommended reading

Diabetes and Stroke from National Stroke Association


Recommended book

Blast the Sugar Out!: Lower Blood Sugar, Lose Weight, Live Better by Ian K. Smith M.D.


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