Preventing Recurrent Stroke
Recovery and rehabilitation after a stroke is often a major priority to both the stroke survivor and their caregivers. While it is good to have the goal of recovery in mind, it is also important to know that once a loved one has had a stroke, the possibility of another stroke occurring is increased.
Twenty-four percent of women and 42 percent of men are likely to have a recurrent stroke within five years.
Important ways for you or your loved one to prevent a new or recurrent stroke include a combination of lifestyle changes and medications.
Lifestyle Choices and Changes You Can Make
- Quitting smoking.Please visit this Website for tips and help with quitting smoking.
- Decreasing the amount of alcohol you consume. Generally, it is recommended that you drink no more than 1 drink per day if you are a woman, and 2 drinks per day if you are a man.
- Monitoring and controlling your blood pressure. The following Website provides you with 10 ways to lower your blood pressure without using medications. Keep in mind you should always take medications prescribed to you, and not discontinue any medications or treatments suddenly without asking your healthcare provider.
- Eat low-sodium foods. This link will take you to a Website showing you examples of high-salt and low-salt foods.
- Eat foods that are lower in fat. Here is a list of low-fat food choices.
- Exercise more often. Generally, adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity
(such as a brisk walk) and muscle-strengthening activities of all major muscle groups
(legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) total per week. If you are
unable to stand or walk, many exercises can be done while seated. Ask your healthcare provider about the ideal amount of exercise that is right for
you before starting any new exercise routine.
- Weight Management. Staying at a healthy weight is a very important factor to preventing another stroke. Please visit this website to learn more about weight management.
Medications to Decrease the Risk of Recurrent Stroke
Here are Websites that list medications and their side effects that your healthcare provider might prescribe for you to decrease the risk of another stroke. This list includes:
- Blood Thinning Medications
- Drugs to Control High Cholesterol
- Types of Blood Pressure Medications
- Side Effects of Blood Pressure Medications
Stroke Risk Factors You Can’t Change
Unfortunately, some risk factors for preventing a recurrent stroke are unable to be changed by you. These risk factors include:
- Male gender. Men are more likely than women to have a first time and recurrent strokes.
- African-American race. African-Americans have a higher incidence of stroke than any other race.
- Being over the age of 55 years.
- Having a history of diabetes.
- Having a family history of stroke
The following are websites that can give you more information about preventing recurrent stroke.
American Heart Association. (2011). Losing weight. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/WeightManagement/LosingWeight/Losing-Weight_UCM_307904_Article.jsp#.T3Xc1nh-Q20.
Bergman, D. (2011). Preventing cerebrovascular events in patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack: The current data. American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 20(12), 659-666.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Alcohol and public health. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#moderateDrinking.
MacDougall, N., J. J., Amarasinghe, S., & Muir, K., W. (2009). Secondary prevention of stroke. Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy, 7(9), 1103-1115.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2012). Brain basics: Preventing stroke. Retrieved from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/preventing_stroke.htm
National Stroke Association. (2012). Recurrent stroke prevention resources. Retrieved from http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=rsp
Developed in 2012 by Jamie M. Neal, BSN, RN at the University of Toledo for Caring-Web©.