Stroke Management Tips

Featured Article, Healthy Heart, Stroke
on February 29, 2012

If the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced, then a stroke may occur. According to the Mayo Clinic, when the brain does not receive enough food or oxygen, brain cells may rapidly die. Prompt treatment is crucial, as early action can minimize the amount of permanent damage and other complications. Learn about the actions that stroke sufferers can take to reduce the risk of further incidence and prevent further damage or disability.

Reduce high blood pressure. Lowering your blood pressure after a stroke can help prevent a repeat occurrence. Exercising regularly, managing stress and maintaining a healthy weight can all help reduce blood pressure. In addition, as advised by the Mayo Clinic, your doctor may prescribe a number if medications — including diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and calcium channel blockers — to maintain reduced blood pressure.

Eat healthily. Stroke sufferers should reduce the amount of cholesterol and fat consumption, which may help improve the flow of blood through the arteries. Reducing the amount of sodium and alcohol that you consume can also help, as well as increasing the amount of potassium in your diet. You should also aim to eat a healthy balance of fruit and vegetables.

Quit smoking. Smokers suffer an increased risk of a stroke and, according to the Mayo Clinic, even second-hand smoke has the same effect. If you have suffered a stroke, you should stop smoking altogether. After a period of time, your risk of a further stroke reduces to the same level as any non-smoker.

Reduce alcohol and illicit drug intake. Stroke sufferers should moderate their alcohol consumption. Heavy consumption and binge drinking increases the risk of high blood pressure. Moderate consumption of alcohol can, however, increase your HDL cholesterol and decrease your blood's tendency to clot. Illicit drugs, such as cocaine, can increase the risk of a stroke and should be avoided.

Take preventive medication. The Mayo Clinic advises that your doctor may recommend medication to reduce the risk of certain types of stroke. Anti-platelet drugs, such as aspirin, decrease your blood's likelihood to clot and can therefore help prevent a further stroke. Anticoagulants, such as heparin and warfarin, work in a different way but also reduce the likelihood of a blood clot.