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Talking to Your Doctor About Stroke

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with stroke. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

  • Which of my functions have been compromised by the stroke?
    • Intellectual
    • Language
    • Sensory
    • Motor (hands, legs, and mobility)
  • Will I regain any of these functions?
  • How high is my risk of stroke, and what do you recommend doing about it?
  • Do I need to take preventive medications like aspirin or cholesterol-lowering drugs?
  • Are there tests I can have to help clarify my risk for a stroke?
  • What lifestyle changes can I make to lessen my risk of having a stroke ?
  • What treatments are available to me?
  • What type of rehabilitation programs am I going to need?
  • What is likely to happen without treatment?
  • What medications are available to me?
    • What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
    • Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I am already taking?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?
  • What is my long-term outlook for:
    • Work
    • Daily living activities
    • Physical activity and exercise
    • Mental function
  • How will this affect my family?
  • Should I follow a special diet?
  • Are there any dietary changes I should make? How do I go about it?
  • Should I begin an exercise program?
    • What kind of exercise is best?
    • How often should I exercise?
    • How do I get started exercising?
  • Should I stop drinking alcohol?
  • How can I find help quitting smoking?
  • Can you recommend some support groups for myself and my family?
  • What are the chances I will have another stroke after treatment?
  • How will I know that my treatment has been effective?
  • What is my expected prognosis?
  • How often will I need check-ups?

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 12/2013 -
  • Update Date: 01/13/2014 -
  • Kasper DL, Braunwald E, Fauci A, Hauser S, Longo D, Jameson JL. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 16th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2004.

  • National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/ .

  • Stroke. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke/DS00150 . Updated July 2008. Accessed February 4, 2010.