Stroke

  • Alternative Names

    Cerebrovascular disease; CVA; Cerebral infarction; Cerebral hemorrhage; Ischemic stroke; Stroke - ischemic; Cerebrovascular accident; Stroke - hemorrhagic


    Prevention

    To help prevent a stroke:

    • Avoid fatty foods. Follow a healthy, low-fat diet.
    • Do not drink more than 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks a day.
    • Exercise regularly: 30 minutes a day if you are not overweight; 60 - 90 minutes a day if you are overweight.
    • Get your blood pressure checked every 1 - 2 years, especially if high blood pressure runs in your family.
    • Have your cholesterol checked. If you are at high risk for stroke, your LDL "bad" cholesterol should be lower than 100 mg/dL. Your doctor may recommend that you try to reduce your LDL cholesterol to 70 mg/dL.
    • Follow your doctor's treatment recommendations if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
    • Quit smoking.

    Aspirin therapy (81 mg a day or 100 mg every other day) is recommended for stroke prevention in all men who have stroke risk factors, and in women under age 65 who are at risk for stroke, as long as the benefits outweigh the risks. It should be considered for women over age 65 only if their blood pressure is controlled and the benefit is greater than the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and brain hemorrhage. Ask your doctor if aspirin is right for you.

    Your doctor may also recommend aspirin therapy or another blood thinner if you have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke in the past, or if you currently have:

    • Congestive heart failure
    • Irregular heartbeat (such as atrial fibrillation)
    • Mechanical heart valve
    • Other risk factors for stroke

    A type of surgery called carotid endarterectomy may help prevent new strokes from occurring in persons with large blockages in their neck arteries.

    See also: Stroke risk factors and prevention


    References

    Latchaw RE, Alberts MJ, Lev MH, Connors JJ, Harbaugh RE, Higashida RT, et al. Recommendations for imaging of acute ischemic stroke: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Stroke. 2009;40:3646-3678. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

    Del Zoppo GJ, Saver JL, Jauch EC, Adams HP Jr: American Heart Association Stroke Council, Expansion of the time window for treatment of acute ischemic stroke with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator: a science advisory from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2009;40:2945-2948. Epub 2009 May 28.

    Adams RJ, Albers G, Alberts MJ, Benavente O, Furie K, Goldstein LB, et al. Update to the AHA/ASA recommendations for the prevention of stroke in patients with stroke and transient ischemic attack. Stroke. 2008;39:1647-1652. Epub 2008 Mar 5.

    Chung CS, Caplan LR. Stroke and other neurovascular disorders. In: Goetz, CG, eds. Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 45.