You know when you see him. And you smile when you hear him. Actor and comedian Reynaldo Rey first appeared on the screen alongside fellow red-headed comedian and friend, Redd Foxx in 1980s sitcom, Sanford. Throughout his career, he made his mark in several other notable films including White Men Can’t Jump, The Bernie Mac Show, The Royal Family, The Wayans Bros, Everybody Hates Chris, and 227. 

Rey or as many friends called him, “Red” died at the age of 75 in 2006 from complications due to a stroke he suffered the year prior. What many didn’t realize, however, is it stemmed from diabetes. Here’s how the disease could’ve led to a stroke: 

What is the link between diabetes and stroke?

Diabetes means you have too much sugar in your blood, and this can make you more likely to have a stroke.

This is because having too much sugar in your blood damages the blood vessels. It can make the blood vessels become stiff, and can also cause a build-up of fatty deposits. These changes can lead to a blood clot, which can travel to the brain and cause a stroke.

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Your body controls the amount of sugar in your blood with a hormone called insulin. Diabetes develops when your body isn’t able to produce insulin, or the insulin it does produce doesn’t work properly. There are two main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes means you can’t produce insulin. It often starts in childhood, but adults can get it too. It affects around 10% of people with diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes means that you don’t produce enough insulin, or that your body cells aren’t responding to insulin. It is mainly an adult disease, and it affects around 90% of people with diabetes. 

Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition during pregnancy. It usually stops after the baby is born, although it can increase the mother’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. 

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