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- A clot from another part of the body like the heart or neck. The clot breaks off and flows through the blood until it becomes trapped in a blood vessel supplying the brain.
- A clot that forms in an artery that supplies blood to the brain
- A tear in an artery supplying blood to the brain. This is called an arterial dissection.
- Race—People of African American, Hispanic, or Asian/Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk.
- Age: Older than 55 years of age
- Family history of stroke
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels —specifically high-LDL bad cholesterol
- Low bone mineral density, especially in women
- Obesity and metabolic syndrome
- High blood homocysteine level
- Diabetes mellitus or impaired glucose tolerance
- Atrial fibrillation
- Blood disorders such as sickle cell disease and polycythemia
- Vascular dementia
- Disease of heart valves, such as mitral stenosis
- Prior stroke or cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack
- Peripheral artery disease
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA) —a warning stroke with stroke-like symptoms that go away shortly after they appear
Conditions that increase your risk of blood clots such as:
- Certain autoimmune diseases
- Migraine with aura
- Having a blood vessel abnormality
- Previous pre-eclampsia
- Use of birth control pills , especially if you are over 35 years old and smoke
- Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy
- Pregnancy—due to increased risk of blood clots
- Problems with vital functions, such as breathing
- Difficulty with chewing, swallowing, and speaking
- Weakness or paralysis in the arms, legs, and/or face
- Problems with balance or sensation
- Hearing loss
- Vision problems
- Vertigo —a feeling of spinning or whirling when you are not moving
- Locked-in syndrome, which occurs when only the eyes are able to move
- CT scan
- Angiogram —to assess the heart and its blood supply
- CT angiogram
- MRI scan
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
- Doppler ultrasound
- Dissolve or remove a clot for ischemic stroke
- Stop bleeding for hemorrhagic stroke
- Dissolve clots and prevent new ones from forming
- Thin blood
- Control blood pressure
- Treat an irregular heart rate
- Treat high cholesterol
- Work against any blood-thinning drugs you may regularly take
- Reduce how your brain reacts to bleeding
- Control blood pressure
- Embolectomy—a catheter is used to remove the clot or deliver clot-dissolving drugs
- Vertebrobasilar angioplasty and stenting —carotid artery is widened and a mesh tube is placed to keep it open
- Physical therapy—to work on improving movement
- Occupational therapy—to assist in everyday tasks and self-care
- Speech therapy—to improve swallowing and speech challenges
- Psychological therapy—to provide support in adjusting to life after the stroke
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables , and whole grains . Limit dietary salt and fat .
- If you smoke , talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
- Increase your consumption of fish.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation. This means 1-2 drinks per day.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Check your blood pressure frequently . Follow your doctor's recommendations for keeping it in a safe range.
- Take aspirin if your doctor says it is safe.
- Keep chronic medical conditions under control. This includes high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Talk to your doctor about the use of statins. These types of drugs may help prevent certain kinds of strokes in some people.
- Seek medical care if you have symptoms of a stroke, even if symptoms stop.
- If you use drugs, talk to your doctor about rehabilitation programs.
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
National Stroke Association http://www.stroke.org
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com
Stroke Survivors Association of Ottawa http://www.strokesurvivors.ca
Furie KL, Kasner SE, Adams RJ, et al. Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Patients With Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2010 October 21.
Hemorrhagic stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-stroke/hemorrhagic-stroke. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Hemorrhagic strokes (bleeds). American Heart Association American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/HemorrhagicBleeds/Hemorrhagic-Strokes-Bleeds%5FUCM%5F310940%5FArticle.jsp. Updated September 16, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Intracerebral hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 6, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Ischemic strokes (clots). American Heart Association American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/IschemicClots/Ischemic-Strokes-Clots%5FUCM%5F310939%5FArticle.jsp. Updated August 29, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Jensen M, St. Louis E. Management of acute cerebellar stroke. Archives of Neurology website. Available at: http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/62/4/537.pdf. Published April 2005. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Long term management of stroke. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 30, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Mena F, Fruns M, Contreras A, Soto F, Mena I. Acute brainstem infarct: multidisciplinary management. Alasbimn Journal website. Available at: http://www.alasbimnjournal.cl/revistas/5/mena5.htm. Published October 1999. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Nueroimaging for acute stroke. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 14, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Recognizing stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SYMP. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Stroke (acute management). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 17, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 28, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
2/7/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Bushnell C, et al. AHA/ASA Guideline for the Prevention of Stroke in Women. Stroke. 2014 Feb 6. [Epub ahead of print]
6/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Myint PK, Cleark AB, et al. Bone mineral density and incidence of stroke: European prospective investigation into cancer-norfolk population-based study, systemic review, and meta-analysis. Stroke. 2014 Feb;45(2):373-82.
6/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Imfeld P, Bodmer M, et al. Risk of incident stroke in patients with Alzheimer disease or vascular dementia. Neurology. 2013 Sep 3;81(10):910-919.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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