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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:

Recommended Related to Stroke

Silent Stroke: What You Need to Know

Have you had a stroke? How could you tell? A stroke is a sudden stop of blood supply to part of the brain. Some people have strokes without ever knowing it. These so-called silent strokes either have no easy-to-recognize symptoms, or you don’t remember them. But they do cause permanent damage in your brain. If you've had more than one silent stroke, you may have thinking and memory problems. They can also lead to more severe strokes.

Read the Silent Stroke: What You Need to Know article > >

  • Get appropriate medical treatment of atrial fibrillation. This heart arrhythmia can increase the risk of stroke.
  • Get treated for sleep apnea, if you have it.
  • Learn stress management techniques.
  • Exercise.
  • Control your diabetes, if you have it.
  • Limit alcohol use.

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 March 09, 2014
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