Preventing Stroke: Other Medical Conditions
If you have heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes you can take steps to lower your risk for stroke.
Your health care provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years. Talk with your health care team about this simple blood test. If you have high cholesterol, medications and lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk for stroke.
Control Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. Talk to your health care team about how often you should check your levels. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a doctor’s office, or at a pharmacy.
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor might prescribe medication, recommend some changes in your lifestyle, or advise you to lower the levels of salt in your diet.
If your health care provider thinks you have symptoms of diabetes, he or she may recommend that you get tested. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels carefully. Talk with your health care team about treatment options. Your doctor may recommend certain lifestyle changes to help keep your blood sugar under good control—those actions will help reduce your risk for stroke.
Manage Heart Disease
If you have certain heart conditions, such as atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), your health care team may recommend medical treatment or surgery. Taking care of heart problems can help prevent stroke.
Take Your Medicine
If you take medication to treat heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something. Never stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
Talk with Your Health Care Team
You and your health care team can work together to prevent or treat the medical conditions that lead to stroke. Discuss your treatment plan regularly, and bring a list of questions to your appointments.
If you’ve already had a stroke or TIA, your health care team will work with you to prevent further strokes. Your treatment plan will include medications or surgery and lifestyle changes to reduce your risk for another stroke. Be sure to take your medications as directed and follow your doctor’s instructions.