After Stroke, Risk Remains High
People who have had a stroke—even those without complications—are at increased risk for another cerebrovascular event, including a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack, or TIA), for at least five years. Researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, Canada, suggest that stroke risk is highest for the first three months and remains seven times higher in survivors after one year.
For the study, researchers collected data on more than 26,300 stroke and TIA survivors who had no complications. They then compared stroke and heart attack risk in the survivors to the risk in nearly 264,000 healthy adults. They found that long-term stroke and heart attack risk was significantly higher in stroke survivors.
Within one year of a stroke, 10 percent of patients died or had another stroke or heart attack. After three years, the number rose to 25 percent, and after five years it increased to nearly 36 percent. To reduce stroke risk, survivors should aggressively manage blood pressure, conditions like atrial fibrillation (afib), and lifestyle factors, including smoking, diet, and exercise.