Strokes are a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced, causing brain cells to die. There are different types of strokes, including ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, each with unique causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
Preventing Recurrent Strokes: Long-Term Strategies and Follow-Up Care
Primary stroke – Primary stroke prevention refers to treating individuals with no history of stroke but who are at high risk of developing a stroke.
Secondary Stroke – The concept of secondary stroke prevention involves providing therapeutic interventions to reduce the risk of subsequent stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) among individuals who have previously experienced such strokes.
All patients should have an individualized strategy for secondary stroke prevention that should be implemented as early as possible after an acute stroke or TIA.
Patients should receive regular review and treatment of strokes risk factors
Advice for Stroke Prevention
- Don’t smoke/use tobacco in any form
- Avoid second-hand smoke.
- The most important step is “‘deciding to quit” commit to sticking to it.
- Fight the urge to smoke or use tobacco.
- Ask your family and friends to support you
- Improve your eating habits
- Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and added sugars.
- It is recommended to avoid consuming foods that are high in saturated fats, such as fatty meats, butter, and cream, as they can negatively impact health and increase the risk of developing various conditions, including cardiovascular disease.
- Read nutrition labels on packaged meals. Many are very high in sodium.
- Include fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dried peas, and beans in your diet.
- Be physically active
- If you have a chronic medical condition, check with your doctor before you start.
- Start slowly and build up to at least 150 minutes a week; of moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking or cycling).
- Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine can be achieved by seizing even the smallest opportunities, such as opting to take the stairs rather than an elevator or parking farther away from your destination, as these simple actions can add up to significant health benefits over time.
- Take your medicine as directed.
- There are several therapies to prevent stroke recurrence such as “blood thinners”, like aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin, and acitrom.
- Your doctor decides the right medication for you, in the right dosage.
- Do not skip medicines without medical guidance.
- Get your blood pressure and sugar (diabetes) checked regularly
- Keep your readings under control and manage them if it’s high.
- High blood pressure and diabetes are the most common preventable risk factor for stroke.
- If you have someone in the family with a history of hypertension and or diabetes, you should measure/check at regular intervals.
- Patients may need to take medicines for the long term, probably a lifetime.
- Anti-lipid agents- drugs for cholesterol
- Treatment with a statin (atorvastatin/rosuvastatin) is given to all patients with ischemic stroke or TIA unless contra-indicated.
- It helps in lowering bad cholesterol (LDL, TG) to the normal level and also helps to stabilize the atherosclerosis plaque.
- Reach and maintain a healthy weight
- Being overweight or obese increases your risk for stroke.
- To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI)
Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure excess body fat.
- Decrease your stress level
- Seek emotional support when it’s needed.
- Have regular medical checkups.
If you or a loved one have experienced a stroke, Connect with our top neurologists today to receive the best consultation for your stroke.