Diabetes mellitus and stroke

Int J Clin Pract. 2006 Jan;60(1):48-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1368-5031.2006.00682.x.


The aim of this article was to describe (i) the epidemiology and outcomes of stroke relating to diabetes; (ii) the pathophysiology of diabetes as a risk factor for stroke; (iii) the management of acute stroke in patients with diabetes; (iv) the evidence of primary and secondary prevention of stroke in patients with diabetes; and (v) the risk of new-onset diabetes using older antihypertensive agents. The combination of diabetes and stroke disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Evidence from large clinical trials performed in patients with diabetes supports the need for aggressive and early intervention to target patients' cardiovascular (CV) risks in order to prevent the onset, recurrence and progression of acute stroke. Identification of at-risk patients with diabetes and metabolic syndrome has also allowed the delivery of early and effective intervention to reduce stroke risks, while active treatment during the acute phase of stroke will reduce long-term neurological and functional deficits. While the ongoing debate on the risk benefits of different antihypertensive, lipid-lowering and antiplatelet agents should not detract clinicians from pursuing aggressive CV risk reduction, the application of evidence-based medicine specifically in patients with diabetes will facilitate the use of appropriate agents to improve clinical outcomes. The overall management of patients with diabetes and acute stroke or at risk of secondary stroke should also include multifactorial intervention that not only targets patient's CV risk but also includes behavioural, lifestyle and, where appropriate, surgical intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Carotid Stenosis / surgery
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / etiology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / prevention & control
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / therapy
  • Dyslipidemias / drug therapy
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid / methods
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / complications
  • Hyperglycemia / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Stroke / etiology*
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Stroke / therapy
  • Warfarin / therapeutic use


  • Anticoagulants
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Warfarin