1 in 4 ischemic (clot-related) stroke survivors will suffer another stroke. A previous ischemic stroke puts you at a higher risk of having a second one, but up to 80 percent of second ischemic strokes may be preventable.
Your risk of a second stroke can be greatly reduced by taking control of your health. Maintaining some healthy lifestyle habits goes a long way. Below are some things you can do.
High blood pressure is the No. 1 risk factor for stroke. Work with your health care provider to lower your blood pressure to a healthy level.
Have your cholesterol checked regularly. Medication and a healthy lifestyle can help keep your cholesterol level in the normal range.
Have your blood sugar/glucose level tested. Some people do not know they have diabetes until something serious, like a stroke, happens.
Physical activity reduces the risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and potentially stroke, itself. Staying active can also improve recovery if you have a stroke. Your health care team can help develop a plan that is right for you.
A healthy diet helps maintain overall wellness, including healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar/glucose levels, which may help prevent a stroke. Dietary patterns in the Mediterranean region are consistently associated with a reduced rate of stroke. Make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats like olive oil and limit the amount of processed foods.
If you drink alcohol, limit it to one drink a day for women, or two drinks a day for men. If you do not drink, do not start.
There is no safe amount of cigarette smoke and smoking increases the risk of a stroke. If you smoke, talk with your health care provider about how to quit.
If your doctor has prescribed medication, be sure to take it exactly as instructed. Do not skip doses. Not taking your medication is a significant risk factor for having another stroke.
Work with your health care provider to create a secondary stroke-prevention plan, and stick with it. Talk with your provider about how to manage any medical conditions you have that may increase your risk of a stroke.
Join a group of stroke survivors and caregivers to connect and share information and experiences.
Remember to B.E. F.A.S.T. if you see or have any stroke warning signs or symptoms. A stroke requires immediate medical attention. If someone shows one or more of these symptoms, call 911 right away.
B – BALANCE – Sudden Loss of Balance
E – EYES – Sudden Double or Blurred Vision
F – FACE – One Side of Face Drooping
A – ARMS – Weak/Numb on One Side
S – SPEECH – Slurred/Garbled, Trouble Repeating
T – TIME – To Call 911 Now!
Healthy lifestyle habits can lower your risk of a stroke. If you have had a stroke, managing chronic health conditions, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help prevent a second one. These habits can also help you avoid a first stroke and stay stroke-free.
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