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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. This is called an arterial dissection.
- Age: Older than 55
- Family history of stroke
- High blood pressure
- High blood homocysteine level
- High cholesterol levels —specifically high-LDL, also known as 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, such as 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—a feeling of spinning or whirling when you are not moving
- Locked-in syndrome, which occurs when only the eyes are able to move
- CT scan
- CT angiogram
- MRI scan
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
- Doppler ultrasound
- Angiogram —a test that uses a catheter (tube) and x-ray machine to assess the heart and its blood supply
- Blood tests
- Tests to check the level of oxygen in the blood
- 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 .
- If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
- Increase your consumption of fish.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation. This means 1-2 drinks per day.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Check your 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 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 abusing drugs such as cocaine. Your doctor can refer you to rehabilitatin programs.
American Heart Association http://www.heart.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.
Hemorrhagic stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=HEMSTROKE. Accessed November 15, 2013.
Hemorrhagic strokes (bleeds). American Heart Association American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/HemorrhagicBleeds/Hemorrhagic-Strokes-Bleeds%5FUCM%5F310940%5FArticle.jsp. Updated November 7, 2013. Accessed November 15, 2013.
Intracerebral hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated August 14, 2013. Accessed November 15, 2013.
Ischemic strokes (clots). American Heart Association American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/IschemicClots/Ischemic-Strokes-Clots%5FUCM%5F310939%5FArticle.jsp. Updated November 7, 2013. Accessed November 15, 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 November 15, 2013.
Long term management of stroke. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated October 28, 2013. Accessed November 15, 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 November 15, 2013.
Nueroimaging for acute stroke. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated May 15, 2013. Accessed November 15, 2013.
Stroke (acute management). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated October 24, 2013. Accessed November 15, 2013.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated October 14, 2013. Accessed November 15, 2013.
What is stroke? National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SYMP. Accessed November 15, 2013.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 11/2013 -
- Update Date: 11/15/2013 -