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Understanding Stroke -- Prevention

How Can I Prevent a Stroke?

Measures that reduce the chances of stroke are the same as those for avoiding a heart attack. Adopt habits that promote cardiovascular health and deter atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The essentials of a healthy lifestyle include a balanced diet; controlling weight; monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels; limiting alcohol; and not smoking.

A few other tips to prevent stroke:

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It all started with a headache -- pounding pain behind the left eye -- that wouldn't go away. A healthy 37-year-old at the time, Jill Bolte Taylor tried to shake the pain with a cardioworkout. But that didn't work. Feeling rocky, Taylor headed for her shower. She noticed herself losing coordination and struggling with balance -- she had to lean against her shower wall. The shower's roar startled her, and her sense of where her body began and ended was fading. "My perception of myself was that...

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If your risk of stroke is high because of severe atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, or a history of heart disease, or previous strokes -- you should see a doctor regularly. Your doctor may advise taking an aspirin a day to thin blood and prevent the formation of blood clots.

For people who have partial obstruction of a carotid artery -- the artery in the neck that provides blood supply to the brain -- a surgery called a carotid endarterectomy may be an option to prevent a stroke or TIA. This procedure involves the removal of fat and plaque buildup from these arteries.

If diagnosed early, because of warning signs of a problem, a carotid aneurysm can be repaired, preventing a possible stroke.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on February 28, 2015
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