Stroke, also referred to as a cerebrovascular accident, is a serious condition caused when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. It is twice as likely to occur in people with diabetes than in the general population. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients, which the brain needs to function. Either an obstruction, like a blood clot, or a break in a blood vessel can stop the flow of blood to the brain. Strokes can lead to disability, cognitive dysfunction, or death.
Damage to the brain blood vessels is caused by the same processes that damage the heart blood vessels in cardiovascular disease. You can reduce your risk of stroke the same way you can prevent cardiovascular disease, by quitting smoking, reducing your blood pressure, and controlling your blood cholesterol. See the section on cardiovascular disease for more specific guidelines on risk management.