You work with your primary care doctor or other primary care provider to follow the stroke prevention treatment plan designed by your team of stroke care specialists.
Because stroke can affect your brain in many different ways, your care after a stroke is different from anyone else's. Preventing more strokes might be as simple as taking aspirin and controlling stroke risk factors, such as blood pressure or smoking, for the rest of your life. It might be more complicated. For example, some people need additional medical treatment or surgery to prevent more strokes.
Controlling Your Risk of Stroke
Controlling your stroke risk factors means avoiding habits and medical conditions that make you more likely to have another stroke. To control your risk factors, you can:
- Control your blood pressure
- Know if you have atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that makes stroke more likely
- Stop smoking
- Control alcohol use (drink fewer alcoholic drinks or stop drinking alcohol)
- Control cholesterol levels
- Control diabetes
- Manage exercise and diet
- Treat circulation issues (problems with the way blood circulates in your body)
Women’s Stroke Risk
A woman’s stroke risk is different than a man’s. Stroke is the third leading cause of death for women (in comparison, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for men). There are unique risk factors that women face that they need to be aware of, including:
- Taking birth control pills. The greatest concern about using oral contraceptives is for women with additional risk factors, such as age, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Being pregnant. Stroke risk increases during a normal pregnancy due to natural changes in the body such as increased blood pressure and stress on the heart.
- Using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), a combined hormone therapy of progestin and estrogen, to relieve menopausal symptoms.
- Suffering from migraine headaches with aura. Migraines can increase a woman's stroke risk two and a half times and most people in the U.S. who suffer migraines are women.
Content adapted from the National Stroke Association.
Stroke Prevention Resources
Download these stroke prevention resources to learn how you can decrease your risk of stroke.