Type 2 diabetes may be a higher risk factor for stroke, cardiac event recurrence than metabolic syndrome

Heart health is a major concern for many Americans, especially those who have been told that their odds of experiencing a heart attack or stroke are high because they have risk factors like metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes or a family history of cardiovascular disease.

Recently, a study published in the journal Archives of Neurology found that having type 2 diabetes may contribute more to the risk of cardiac event or stroke recurrence, compared to metabolic syndrome.

The researchers originally set out to investigate the benefits of a cholesterol-lowering statin medication. While the study's results showed that the drug did reduce the risk of cardiovascular events and stroke among both participants with type 2 diabetes and those with metabolic syndrome, subjects with the former condition were still more likely to experience another stroke, major cardiovascular incident or revascularization procedure.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), heart attacks and strokes occur more than two times more often in people with diabetes than they do in the general population. The organization states that two out of every three diabetics die of cardiovascular disease.

While individuals who have type 2 diabetes may undergo regular testing to determine if they have clogged arteries or other signs of heart disease, it is important for them and their family members to be able to recognize symptoms of stroke.

These include weakness or numbness on only one side of the body, sudden confusion, difficulty speaking, dizziness, strained eyesight and severe headache.

Seeking immediate medical attention for these symptoms can help prevent damage caused by lack of blood flow to the brain. The ADA explains that although individuals with type 2 diabetes have a two to four times higher risk of experiencing a stroke, they can lower their chances through diligent diabetes management, a healthy diet and regular exercise.