If you've had a stroke, preventing a second stroke is a top priority. "The risk of a stroke is tenfold higher in someone who has had a stroke in the past," says Larry B. Goldstein, MD, professor of medicine (neurology) and director of the Duke Stroke Center in Durham, N.C.
Prevention of a second stroke starts by addressing conditions that caused the first stroke, such as atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm that can cause blood to clot) or narrowing of a carotid artery in the neck. Treatment...
If you have a tendency to clench your fist on the
affected arm, keep your fingernails short and smooth so that you do not cut
If you cannot feel sensations in your feet, cut and file
your toenails straight across so that you do not scratch yourself.
Soaking your hands and feet may make your nails easier to cut. If you
diabetes, talk with your doctor about the care of your
If you cannot feel heat on your affected side, you may be more prone
to burns. Tips to prevent burns include the following:
Test the temperature of bath water or dishwater
using your unaffected side.
Bathe and do dishes in lukewarm
Use pot holders whenever you work near a
Turn pot handles away from you to prevent
Wear nonflammable clothes when you cook, and do not wear
clothes with long sleeves or ruffles that could get caught in an
If you have poor muscle tone in an arm, you may be at risk for
shoulder problems. The weight of an affected arm can cause the shoulder to
dislocate (shoulder subluxation). You also may tend not to use the shoulder,
which may cause pain and loss of motion (frozen shoulder). A frozen shoulder
can be prevented by:
Positioning and supporting your affected arm. For
example, wear an arm sling when sitting up or walking.
full movement (range of motion) of the affected joints either by moving your
arm or having someone move it for you.
Not overexercising your arm.
This can cause pain and make exercising more difficult.
Swelling occurs when the affected arm or leg cannot move
for a long period of time. A large amount of swelling:
Causes decreased blood flow in the limb, which
increases your chance of getting skin sores (pressure
Limits movement of the limb, which increases your chance of
having the joint stiffen (contracture).
Causes pain and
discomfort in and around the swollen tissues.
Some tips to prevent swelling in your affected arm or leg
include the following:
Elevate the affected arm or leg. If your arm
hangs down at your side for long periods of time, you will have more swelling
in the arm.
If swelling occurs, massage your arm or leg and wear
support stockings (also called compression stockings) or
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Richard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
June 28, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 28, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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