How poor diabetes management led to a stroke

minute read
June 24, 2024
An Indian man with type 2 diabetes and health complications.
Note: Image for illustration only. It does not show the author or subject of this story. Photo credit - Wolfgang Eckert

They say that if you make diabetes your friend, it can be your best friend. But if you don’t, it can be your worst enemy.

My father is a type 2 diabetic and has had the disease for the last 17 years. And he’s experienced one of the most dreaded possible complications of diabetes – A stroke.

My father’s diabetes diagnosis

My father was diagnosed after passing a kidney stone.

It had been a terrible day. My father was screaming in pain, and when we reached the hospital, we learned it was from a kidney stone – Which he thankfully passed through urination.

Afterwards, my father went through multiple tests to try and determine what had caused the kidney stone. These tests discovered he had type 2 diabetes.

From that day on, my father needed to take daily anti-diabetic tablets. This was a challenge as my father is a stubborn man who, for some reason, is afraid of taking medicine. We also tried to help him modify his lifestyle and diet.

Unfortunately, my father made no effort to change and, because he also didn’t take his medication, his diabetes remained poorly controlled.

A series of mini-strokes

Because of his poorly controlled diabetes, my father developed Bell’s palsy (paralysis of half of his face). Thankfully, he recovered from this with medication.

After that, he started to get forgetful and suffered from poor bladder control. His cholesterol levels were also sky-high (he was put on anti-cholesterol medications to treat this). And he had constant headaches and dizziness.

Following another series of tests, it was discovered that my father was having transient ischemic attacks (also known as mini-strokes). This was alarming because mini-strokes are a sign that a major stroke could happen soon.

(Ischemic strokes occur when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is blocked, preventing blood flow.)

A major stroke

On the night of December 30th, 2022, what we feared most finally happened – My father had a major stroke.

It started with my father complaining of a really severe headache. Soon after, he lost control of the left side of his body and his recent memory was impaired.

We rushed my father to the hospital, where a CT scan confirmed that he had suffered a major ischemic stroke on the right side of his brain.

They started treatment immediately, but the stroke unfortunately resulted in permanent disabilities. My father’s left side was paralysed, and he struggled with short-term memory loss.

He remained in the hospital for 3 days (the worst 3 days of our lives), before he was finally discharged.

His current condition

When my father was discharged, he was told to take oral medications, keep exercising, and do physiotherapy. We were informed the recovery would be slow.

This was true.

My father is in a better condition than he was, but his recovery has been very slow, and he still has some disability and short-term memory loss.

The moral of my father’s story

If it’s not properly controlled, diabetes can be really cruel. It can disturb cholesterol levels, accelerate clot formation, and lead to heart attacks and strokes.

To avoid this, it’s critical you take proper control of and accurately monitor your blood sugar levels.

It’s also vital you get regular check-ups with your doctor, helping to avoid any possible complications and treat them as soon as they’re identified. You should also follow their advice, take your medication, lead an active lifestyle, and follow a healthy diet.

Never ignore the signals your body sends you – Take immediate action to counter them.

Profile photo of Anaa Khalid, a mother who went through gestational diabetes in both her pregnancies.
Anaa Khalid

Anaa Khalid is the daughter of a type 2 diabetic and has gone through gestational diabetes twice. She knows first-hand the steps necessary to manage diabetes, and has sadly seen the consequences that can happen if you don’t.

Editor's note: The opinions and experiences reflected in stories from the diabetic community belong to the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InDiabetes.

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