The best way to treat a stroke is to prevent it from happening in the first place. It is just as important to find the cause of a stroke that has already happened and start treating that cause to prevent it from happening again. There are several risk factors for stroke, and if we can improve these, we can cut stroke risk.
- Blood pressure has to be treated. With good blood pressure control, a person’s stroke risk can be cut nearly in half. Some blood pressure medications can offer more benefits by other actions they have on the body, but any medication that lowers blood pressure lowers your risk for stroke.
- Smoking is not an option. People can cut their risk for stroke by over 50% if they quit smoking. The benefits begin immediately, and the risk of someone who has not smoked in five years is the same as if they had never smoked at all.
- Heart disease needs to be treated, too. This means treating cholesterol and diabetes, getting exercise, and eating a healthy diet. People who have had heart attacks are at a higher stroke risk, especially in the first two weeks. Keeping the heart healthy keeps the brain healthy.
- Atrial fibrillation, a certain type of irregular heart beat, puts people at high stroke risk. If the irregularity cannot be controlled, then blood thinning medication needs to be started.
- Daily aspirin helps to prevent stroke. Many people can take this, but not everyone should. Your primary care doctor can tell you if you should or should not take aspirin.
- Regular medical checkups will help find if you have any of these conditions that need to be treated and will help advise you on the newest breakthroughs.