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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. Called an arterial dissection.
- Sex: Men are more likely to have strokes than women but women are more likely to die of strokes than men
- African American, Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islander descent
- Age: Risk of stroke increases with age particularly after 55 years of age.
- Family history of stroke
- High blood pressure (the number one risk factor for ischemic stroke)
- High blood homocysteine level
- High cholesterol levels—specifically high-LDL "bad" cholesterol
- Diabetes mellitus or impaired glucose tolerance
- Atrial fibrillation
- Blood disorders such as sickle cell disease and polycythemia
- 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
- Having a blood vessel abnormality
- Problems with vital functions (eg, breathing)
- Difficulty with chewing, swallowing, and speaking
- Weakness or paralysis in the arms, legs, and/or face
- Problems with sensation
- Hearing loss
- Vision problems
- Vertigo (feeling of spinning or whirling when you are not moving)
- “Locked-in syndrome” (only the eyes are able to move)
- Exam of nervous system
- Computed tomography (CT) scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the brain
- CT angiogram—a type of CT scan that evaluates the blood vessels in the brain and/or neck
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of the brain
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) —a type of MRI scan that evaluates the blood vessels in the brain and/or neck
- Angiogram —a test that uses a catheter (tube) and x-ray machine to assess the heart and its blood supply
- Heart function tests (eg, electrocardiogram , echocardiogram )
- Doppler ultrasound —a test that uses sound waves to examine blood vessels
- Blood tests
- Tests to check the level of oxygen in the blood
- Kidney and liver function tests
- 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 .
- Stop smoking .
- Increase your consumption of fish.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation (1-2 drinks per day).
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Check 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 a 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.
- Stop the use of recreational drugs such as cocaine.
American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.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. Available at: http://stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/STR.0b013e3181f7d043v1 . Updated October 21, 2010. Accessed September 4, 2012.
Hemorrhagic stroke. American Heart Association American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/HemorrhagicBleeds/Hemorrhagic-Strokes-Bleeds%5FUCM%5F310940%5FArticle.jsp. Accessed June 6, 2013.
Hemorrhagic stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=HEMSTROKE . A Accessed September 4, 2012.
Intracerebral hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated March 21, 2013. Accessed June 6, 2013.
Ischemic stroke. American Heart Association American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/IschemicClots/Ischemic-Strokes-Clots%5FUCM%5F310939%5FArticle.jsp. Accessed June 6, 2013.
Long term management of stroke. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated April 30, 2013. Accessed June 6, 2013.
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 June 6, 2013.
Stroke (acute management). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated May 2, 2013. Accessed June 6, 2013.
Nueroimaging for acute stroke. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated May 15, 2013. Accessed June 6, 2013.
Signs and symptoms. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SYMP . A Accessed September 4, 2012.
Stroke (acute management). EBSCO Publishing DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated August 30, 2012. Accessed September 4, 2012.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated January 22, 2013. Accessed June 6, 2013.
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 June 11, 2013.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 05/2013 -
- Update Date: 06/11/2013 -