After a stroke, patients are given continued treatment and education to reduce their risk of another stroke. McLeod Hospital Neurologist Dr. Tim Hagen says that if you follow these guidelines, you can reduce your risk of ever having a stroke:
Here are key points from Dr. Hagen’s interview:
Risk reduction follows evaluation and treatment at an Acute Stroke Ready hospital. You may have inpatient rehab to facilitate your stroke recovery. Other appropriate treatments might be aspirin, Plavix or statin medications to reduce the chance of experiencing a further stroke.
We cannot eliminate the stroke risk, but we can greatly reduce it. If you do nothing and you have had a stroke, you may have up to a 20% chance of having another stroke within a year. If you receive treatment and follow-up, you are able to reduce that risk to around 3%-5% — a dramatic risk reduction.
Education is also important. At a stroke-ready hospital, they will ask you to watch your diet. The Mediterranean diet or a variant of it, can greatly reduce the risk for having a further stroke. That diet includes green leafy vegetables, fiber and low-processed foods to reduce the risk of stroke. Studies show that the closer you adhere to the Mediterranean-style diet, the greater the risk reduction for your chances of stroke.
The number-one risk factor for stroke appears to be hypertension. Many people don’t know that they have elevated blood pressure. You should have your blood pressure checked, preferably at different times during the day. It may signal you to make some changes in lifestyle, salt intake and even medications to reduce the risk of a stroke. The other thing that’s very common in this geographic region is diabetes. If you don’t treat the diabetes and the high blood pressure, you’re at a very high risk of having a stroke.
In addition to your diet, blood pressure, control of your blood sugar or diabetes, you need to stop smoking. It’s like putting a corrosive substance inside of your blood vessels. Your blood vessels react and build up plaque. When you put that together with high cholesterol, genetics and what you eat, you’re looking at the recipe for hardening of the arteries and blockages. That’s what sets you up for stroke.
FIND A STROKE-READY EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT NEAR YOU:
You can find Stroke-Ready Hospitals in the McLeod system anywhere that McLeod has an Emergency Department. So, if you’re in Dillon, Cheraw, Florence, Seacoast, Loris or Clarendon — all those Emergency Departments are accredited as Acute Stroke Ready, as documented and credentialed by the guidelines of DNV GL Healthcare, a world-leading certification body. DNV GL Healthcare helps their customers achieve excellency by improving quality and patient safety through hospital accreditation.