The New Jersey Comprehensive Stroke Center at University Hospital
Generally, there are three treatment stages for stroke: prevention; intervention during the acute phase (while the stroke is in progress); and intensive care in the critical hours and days following the stroke.
Some of the intervention treatments used for acute stroke may also be employed in preventing it or its recurrence. And some, such as age, family history or ethnicity, cannot be controlled. But many of the most effective preventive measures require little to no medical intervention. Simple behavior modification and lifestyle changes can work wonders in reducing a variety of risk factors for stroke.
According to the American Stroke Association, more
than 80 percent of strokes could be prevented if people
recognized and eliminated or reduced their risks.
Once someone has suffered a stroke, he or she is automatically at a higher risk of experiencing another. Damage from the initial stroke can weaken portions of the patient’s cerebrovascular system, making them more susceptible to blockage or rupture. In addition, unless they are eliminated or managed, the risk factor(s) that contributed to the first stroke will most likely result in another.
People who have suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “mini-stroke” are also at a higher risk. While not a true stroke because the symptoms are temporary, a TIA is the clearest warning a person can get that a stroke may be imminent unless preventive measures are taken immediately. About one-third of the people who experience a TIA eventually will have an acute stroke, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
The mainstay of stroke prevention is risk-factor management. Making lifestyle changes, following treatment plans prescribed by a qualified medical professional, and undergoing proactive medical procedures can decrease the chances of suffering a stroke more than tenfold.