Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Stroke Health Center

Font Size

Stroke - Topic Overview

For an ischemic stroke, treatment focuses on restoring blood flow to the brain. If you get to the hospital right away after symptoms begin, doctors may use a medicine that dissolves blood clots. Research shows that this medicine can improve recovery from a stroke, especially if given within 90 minutes of the first symptoms.1 Other medicines may be given to prevent blood clots and control symptoms.

A hemorrhagic stroke can be hard to treat. Doctors may do surgery or other treatments to stop bleeding or reduce pressure on the brain. Medicines may be used to control blood pressure, brain swelling, and other problems.

After either kind of stroke and after your condition is stable, treatment shifts to preventing other problems and future strokes. You may need to take a number of medicines to control conditions that put you at risk for stroke, such as high blood pressure or atrial fibrillation. Some people need to have a surgery to remove plaque buildup from the blood vessels that supply the brain (carotid arteries).

The best way to get better after a stroke is to start stroke rehabilitation (rehab). The goal of stroke rehab is to help you regain skills you lost or to make the most of your remaining abilities. Stroke rehab can also help you take steps to prevent future strokes. You have the greatest chance of regaining abilities during the first few months after a stroke. So it is important to start rehab soon after a stroke and do a little every day.

After you have had a stroke, you are at risk for having another one. But you can make some important lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of stroke and improve your overall health.

  • Manage high blood pressure or high cholesterol by working with your doctor.
  • Manage diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels within a target range.
  • If your doctor recommends taking aspirin or a blood thinner, take it.
  • Take your medicine exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Don't smoke or allow others to smoke around you.
  • Limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight makes it more likely you will develop high blood pressure, heart problems, and diabetes. These conditions make a stroke more likely.
  • Do activities that raise your heart rate. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports.
  • Eat heart-healthy foods. These include fruits, vegetables, high-fiber foods, fish, and foods that are low in sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
1|2|3

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 05, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Understanding Stroke
SLIDESHOW
Lowering Blood Pressure Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
most common stroke symptoms
ARTICLE
Stroke Recovery
ARTICLE
 

brain scans
Quiz
woman with migraine
Article
 
brain scan
Article
quit smoking tips
Slideshow
 

Heart Foods Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Soy For High BP
VIDEO
 
BP Medicine
VIDEO
Lowering Cholesterol Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 

WebMD Special Sections