The article's objective is to review the key advances in the scientific literature related to the association of stroke with diabetes mellitus and to summarize the current approaches to stroke prevention in diabetic patients. The key findings from the literature regarding stroke incidence in patients with diabetes, specific and nonspecific risk factors of stroke in the diabetic population, such as arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, diabetes duration, diabetic complications, insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia, course and outcome of stroke in subjects with diabetes and/or hyperglycemia, and the peculiarities of type, site and size of stroke in diabetic patients are discussed. The results of recent clinical trials aimed at correcting hyperglycemia, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, to prevent stroke in people with diabetes, are reviewed. The medical database Medline along with original articles from peer-reviewed journals were used for analysis. There is convincing evidence suggesting that diabetes mellitus represents a strong independent risk factor of stroke. The contribution of hyperglycemia to increased stroke risk is not proven. Data suggest an association of the full cluster of the insulin resistance syndrome and stroke. Diabetes is a risk factor mainly for ischemic stroke, while its association with hemorrhagic stroke remains controversial. Hyperglycemia is common in stroke patients, but it is not known whether it independently influences the course and outcome of stroke or merely reflects stroke severity and location. Aggressive control of arterial hypertension and dyslipidemia allows to decrease the risk of stroke in diabetic patients substantially, while the importance of glucose control for stroke prevention remains unproven.
Copyright 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.