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Recovery After Stroke - Recurrent Stroke

Recovery After Stroke - Recurrent Stroke

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Published by Bilal
Stroke Rehabilitation
Stroke Rehabilitation

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Published by: Bilal on Aug 06, 2010
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02/13/2013

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All publications are reviewed for scientific and medical accuracy by National Stroke Association’s PublicationsCommittee. © 2009 National Stroke Association. 06/09
There are more than 6 million stroke survivors in the U.S.
 
Recovery After Stroke: Recurrent Stroke
After stroke, survivors tend to focus onrehabilitation and recovery. But, preventinganother (or recurring) stroke is also a keyconcern. Of the 795,000 Americans whohave a stroke each year, 5 to 14 percent willhave a second stroke within one year.Within five years, stroke will recur in 24percent of women and 42 percent of men.Percentage of RecurrenceAfter First Stroke3% to 10% 30-Day5% to 14% 1-Year25% to 40% 5-YearStroke prevention is also crucial for thosewho have had transient ischemic attacks(TIAs) or mini-strokes. TIAs are brief episodes of stroke-like symptoms that lastfrom a few minutes to 24 hours. TIAsusually don’t cause permanent damage ordisability. But, they can be a seriouswarning sign of an impending stroke. Up toone third of people who have a TIA areexpected to have a stroke. Just like the firststrokes, many recurrent strokes and TIAscan be prevented through lifestyle changes,surgery, medicine, or a mix of all three.
Your Lifestyle Choices
Everyone has some stroke risk. But, thereare two types of stroke risk factors. Onetype you can’t control. The other you can.Stroke risk factors you can’t change include:
 
Being over age 55
 
Being a man
 
Being African American
 
Someone in your family has had a stroke
 
Having diabetesHaving one or more of these factors doesn’tmean you will have a stroke. By makingsimple lifestyle changes, you may be able toreduce the risk of a first or recurrent stroke.
These simple lifestyle changes can greatlyreduce your chance of having a stroke:
 
Control your blood pressure
 
Find out if you have atrial fibrillation (anirregular heartbeat which allows blood topool in the heart and cause blood clots)
 
Quit smoking
 
Limit alcohol
 
Monitor your cholesterol levels
 
Manage your diabetes
 
Exercise often
 
Eat foods low in sodium (salt) and fat
 
Monitor circulation problems with thehelp of your doctor
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the mostimportant and easily controlled stroke risk factors. So it’s important to know yourblood pressure range!Blood pressure is given in two numbers, forexample 120/80. The first number, thesystolic blood pressure, is a measurement of the force your blood exerts on blood vesselwalls as your heart pumps. The second,diastolic blood pressure, is the measurementof the force your blood exerts on bloodvessel walls when your heart is at rest.
 
All publications are reviewed for scientific and medical accuracy by National Stroke Association’s PublicationsCommittee. © 2009 National Stroke Association. 06/09
 
For people over age 18, normal bloodpressure is lower than 120/80. A bloodpressure reading consistently 120/80 to139/89 is pre-hypertension. If yours fallsin this range, you are more likely toprogress to high blood pressure. Alsocalled hypertension, high blood pressureis a reading of 140/90 or higher.
 
Have your blood pressure checked atleast once each year — more often if youhave high blood pressure, have had aheart attack or stroke, are diabetic, havekidney disease, have high cholesterol orare overweight. If you are at risk forhigh blood pressure, ask your doctorhow to manage it more aggressively.Often blood pressure can be controlledthrough diet and exercise. Even lightexercise
 ⎯ 
a brisk walk, bicycle ride, swimor yard work 
 ⎯ 
can make a difference.Adults should do some form of moderatephysical activity for at least 30 minutes fiveor more days per week, according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention.Regular exercise may reduce your risk of stroke. Before you start an exercise program,check with your doctor.
Your Blood Pressure is High
What do you do if you still have high bloodpressure, even though you have made aneffort to eat healthy foods and exercise?Then it’s time to talk to your doctor.A doctor can advise you about betterlifestyle choices. Medicine may also beneeded.Many drugs can help treat high bloodpressure. The most common are calciumchannel blockers or ACE-inhibitors. Youmay have to try several different drugsbefore you find one that works for you. Thisis common. So, try not to be discouraged if it happens. Once you find a drug that works,take it as directed and exactly as prescribed,even when you feel fine.
Medicines
Medicine may help reduce stroke risk. Inaddition to those that treat high bloodpressure, drugs are also available to controlhigh cholesterol and treat heart disease.There are also drugs that can interfere withthe blood’s tendency to form potentialstroke-causing blood clots.
Heart Disease
Many forms of heart disease can increaseyour stroke risk. One form
 ⎯ 
known asatrial fibrillation or AF
 ⎯ 
causes blood toform clots that can travel to the brain andcause a stroke. AF is an irregular heartbeat.Warfarin (Coumadin
®
) and aspirin are oftenprescribed to treat AF. People takingwarfarin should be monitored carefully by adoctor. Also, people taking this drug shouldlimit foods rich in vitamin K, which in largequantities may offset the drug’s effects.Examples of these foods include green leafyvegetables, alfalfa, egg yolks, soy bean oiland fish livers.
High Cholesterol
High levels of cholesterol may also increasestroke risk by not letting blood move freelythrough the arteries. Cholesterol build-upcan break off. This can cause a clot to formor a stroke to occur. A few drugs, such asstatins, may help lower cholesterol. Somestatins have helped reduce the risk of strokeor TIA in people who have had a heartattack. They have even helped some withaverage or only slightly high cholesterol.
Blood Clotting
There are also a few drugs that can preventclots, helping reduce risk of a second stroke.

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