Reducing Your Risk of Stroke Recurrence

Stroke survivors face a significant risk of recurrence. In fact, according to the University of Toledo, almost 25 percent of women will have a subsequent stroke within five years of their initial one. For men, the risk of subsequent stroke increases to 42 percent.

Fortunately, as many as 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Knowing the most effective stroke prevention tools can help you to maintain your health moving forward.

Establish Good Habits

General health and wellness, including stroke prevention, starts with the choices you make day in and day out. Practicing healthy behaviors on a consistent basis will go a long way to protect your body and mind. The following tips can help to minimize your stroke risk factors:

  • Get adequate nutrition – Focus on a low-sodium, low-fat diet that features whole foods, such as the Mediterranean Diet or the DASH Diet
  • Engage in physical activity – Try to get at least two and half hours of moderate intensity exercise each week. That translates into 30-minute sessions, five days a week
  • Address your mental health – Stress is associated with increased stroke risk, so improving your capacity for stress management is an important preventive strategy
  • Build a social support network:

Eliminate Bad Habits

In addition to building good habits, stroke prevention may require you to get rid of some bad ones, like:

  • Avoiding your doctor – Too many people stay away from the doctor’s office due to fear or shame, and their health suffers for it. For stroke survivors, collaborating with your physician is instrumental in your stroke recovery. Your doctor many need to manage conditions like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol that could increase your risk of a recurrent stroke.
  • Skipping medication doses – Missing medications like blood thinners or ACE inhibitors can make you more vulnerable to another stroke–or worse.
  • Reduce smoking and alcohol intake – Both habits are inflammatory and can contribute to the underlying mechanism of stroke

Additional strokes can leave patients with even more significant functional impairments, so stroke survivors should do everything possible to reduce the risk of future strokes. Talk to your doctor to develop your individualized stroke prevention plan.