THURSDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- People who've had type 2 diabetes for more than 10 years are three times more likely to have a stroke than people without diabetes, new research suggests.
"The longer people had diabetes, the more likely they were to have a stroke. The risk went up pretty dramatically, to up to a threefold risk for people who've had diabetes more than 10 years," said senior study author Dr. Mitchell Elkind, an associate professor of neurology and associate chair for clinical research and training at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
Elkind said the findings point to an even greater need for people to "do everything they can to prevent type 2 diabetes. Get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, see your physician regularly and avoid smoking."
Results of the study are published in the April issue of Stroke.
This study only looked at the most common type of stroke, called ischemic stroke, which occurs when one or more blood vessels in the brain become blocked by a blood clot, according to the National Stroke Association. When this happens, the area of the brain that's no longer receiving blood and oxygen becomes damaged.
Almost 3,300 people from New York City participated in the study. The average age of the participants was 69, and nearly two-thirds were women. Twenty-one percent were white, 24 percent were black and 52 percent were Hispanic. Forty-four percent of the volunteers had Medicaid or no insurance.
When the study began, 22 percent of the participants had diabetes. The average duration of diabetes for those who had it at the start of the study was 17 years.
Ten percent of those who didn't have diabetes at the start of the study developed the disease during the nine years of follow-up. The average duration of diabetes for this group was 4.5 years.
During the study period, there were 244 ischem
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