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Death Risk After Stroke Linked to Younger Age in Adults With Diabetes

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Death Risk After Stroke Linked to Younger Age in Adults With Diabetes

The risk of dying after a stroke is greater among younger adults with diabetes, according to a new study published in the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications.

The risk of having an ischemic stroke — a stroke in which a blood vessel leading to the brain gets blocked (as opposed to a hemorrhagic stroke, in which a bleed occurs) — has been linked to many health factors that are common in people with diabetes, including high blood pressure and abnormal blood lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) levels. But despite the potentially higher stroke risk that people with diabetes face, there haven’t been many studies looking at the factors that influence the risk of dying following a stroke in people with diabetes.

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Risk of dying after stroke higher in young adults with diabetes

For the latest study, researchers looked at differences in the risk of dying after an ischemic stroke — both between people with and without diabetes, and among people with diabetes based on a number of factors. They used a population-based stroke registry in Israel, looking at all first-time ischemic strokes between 2014 and 2018. Out of 41,639 people with a first-time stroke during this time period, 44.5% had previously been diagnosed with diabetes. People with diabetes who had a stroke were more likely to be men, of Arab descent, and from a lower socioeconomic background, and to have other health conditions including cardiovascular risks and abnormal kidney function.

The researchers found that having diabetes was not associated with a higher risk of death in the first month following an ischemic stroke. But it was linked to a higher death risk after that, both in the first year after a stroke and in following years. What’s more, the risk of dying after a stroke increased over time in people with diabetes. It was also higher in younger adults with diabetes, compared with people without diabetes in the same age group.

As described in a Healio article on the study, the researchers suggested that younger people with diabetes might benefit from tighter blood glucose control following a stroke, given that having diabetes apparently increases their risk of death compared with other stroke survivors without diabetes. In older people with diabetes, on the other hand, the risk of death following a stroke is similar to the risk seen in older people without diabetes — so diabetes doesn’t appear to contribute significantly to the risk of dying.

More research is needed, though, to look at the effect of blood glucose control on survival in people with diabetes who have a stroke — and whether blood glucose control affects the risk of dying differently in older and younger people with diabetes.

Want to learn more about diabetes and stroke? Read “Preventing Stroke.”

Quinn Phillips

Quinn Phillips

Quinn Phillips on social media

A freelance health writer and editor based in Wisconsin, Phillips has a degree from Harvard University. He is a former Editorial Assistant for Diabetes Self-Management and has years of experience covering diabetes and related health conditions. Phillips writes on a variety of topics, but is especially interested in the intersection of health and public policy.

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