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 Dr. George Jacob
Heart Infocenter

Holistic-online.com

Stroke

Preventing Another Stroke

People who have had a stroke are at an increased risk of having another one, especially during the first year following the original stroke.

People at risk of having bleeding strokes need to keep their blood pressure low, if possible through diet and lifestyle changes. Sometimes they may need to take medication. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen. If someone has suffered a bleeding stroke because of an aneurysm rupture, other small aneurysms can sometimes be identified and either removed or clipped. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to reverse congenital arterial weakness.

To prevent clot strokes, some patients are first advised to take aspirin. If aspirin proves ineffective, the doctor will probably prescribe ticlopidine, another blood-thinning drug, or warfarin as a last resort. People at particularly high risk for clot stroke because of an existing heart condition would be treated with heparin for acute symptoms and warfarin for long-term therapy. In some patients, surgery to prevent future clot strokes might be recommended. A surgical procedure called endarterectomy is used to remove plaque from large carotid arteries leading from the neck into the brain. Cerebral angioplasty is another technique, still experimental, used to widen clogged brain arteries.

The following factors increase the risk of having another stroke:

High blood pressure (hypertension)
Cigarette smoking
Diabetes
Having had a TIA (transient ischemic attack)
Heart disease
Older age
High cholesterol
Obesity
Sedentary lifestyle

For a description of these risk factors and how that affect the chance of you contracting stroke, please see:

Although some risk factors for stroke cannot be changed (e.g. age) others such as high blood pressure and smoking can be altered. If you smoke - quit. If you have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol, getting them under control - and keeping them under control - will greatly reduce your chances of having a stroke. Patients and families should seek guidance from their physician about lifestyle changes to help prevent another stroke.

Caution: If you suspect a stroke, seek emergency medical treatment immediately. Time is of essence.

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