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Stroke - Prevention

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The best way to prevent stroke or reduce the chances for stroke is to manage the risk factors listed above. In more serious cases, a physician may prescribe medication or recommend surgery.

The two main factors that lead to stroke are disease in the large and small arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart disease. In these conditions, clots can form and travel to the brain. Two main types of medication are prescribed for treatment: antiplatelet drugs and anticoagulant drugs. Antiplatelet drugs prevent clots by preventing the clumping of blood cells. These drugs include aspirin, ticlopidine, Clopidogrel, and dipyridamole. They prevent clots by thinning the blood, and include warfarin and coumadin.

Under the right circumstances, surgery can be used to considerably reduce the chance of stroke in an individual. The most common and most successful procedure is a carotid endarterectomy, first performed in the 1950s. If a patient has been found to have a narrowing in the carotid artery (the artery that takes blood to the brain), then surgery may be required to remove the narrowing. Surgery is not beneficial or even necessary in every case, so it is best to consult a specialist.

Perhaps the biggest part of prevention is knowledge, including learning the warning signs for stroke, having an annual check-up, and being aware of risk factors that can be controlled; educating oneself but not diagnosing oneself (instead consulting a professional) if unsure; and, making sure that information comes from a reliable source. It is best to rely on stroke information from national organizations because the main purpose of television is to entertain (e.g., certain information may be sensationalized), and information on the Internet can come from anyone.



ADAIR E. S., and PFALZGRAF, B. Pathways: Moving beyond Stroke and Aphasia. Detroit, Mich: Wayne State University Press, 1990.

AHN, J., and FERGUSON, G. Recovering from Stroke. York: HarperCollins, 1992.

American Heart Association. The American Heart Association Family Guide to Stroke Treatment, Recovery and Prevention. New York: Times Books, 1994.

ANCOWITZ, A. The Stroke Book. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1993.

BERGQUIST, W. H.; MCCLEAN, R.; and KOBYLINSKI, B. A. Stroke Survivors. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1994.

DONAHUE, P. J. How to Prevent a Stroke: A Complete Risk-Reduction Program. Emmaus, Penn: Rodale Press, 1989.

FOLEY, C., and PIZER, H. F. The Stroke Fact Book. New York: Bantam Books, 1985.

GORDON, N. F. Stroke: Your Complete Exercise Guide. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics Publishers, 1993.

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. The Canadian Family Guide to Stroke Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. Toronto, Ontario: Random House of Canada, 1996.

JOSEPHS, A. The Invaluable Guide to Life After Stroke: An Owner’s Manual. Long Beach, Calif.: Amadeus Press, 1992.

KLEIN, B. S. Slow Dance, A Story of Stroke, Love and Disability. Toronto, Ontario: Knopf Canada, 1997.

LARKIN, M. When Someone You Love Has a Stroke. A National Stroke Association Book. New York: Dell Publishing, 1995.

MCCRUM, R. My Year Off. Toronto, Ontario: Knopf Canada, 1998. National Stroke Association. Living at Home after Your Stroke. Englewood, Col.: National Stroke Association, 1994.

NEWBORN, B. Return to Ithaca. Rockport, Mass.: Element Books Limited, 1997.

SENELICK, R. C.; ROSSI, P. W.; and DOUGHERTY, K. Living with Stroke: A Guide for Families. Chicago, Ill: Contemporary Books, 1999.

SHINBERG, E. F. Strokes: What Families Should Know. Westminister, Mary.: Random House, 1990.

WEINER, F.; LEE, M.; and BELL, H. Recovering at Home after a Stroke: A Practical Guide for You and Your Family. New York: The Body Press/Perigee Books, 1994.

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