Published on January 02, 2018

The Roadmap to Avoiding Another Stroke

By: Steven Bojarski, M.D., Neurology

Patients often ask, how can I avoid my probability of having another stroke? According to the American Stroke Association, having a stroke increases your chances of another stroke by 3 percent after one month, up to 16 percent five years after a stroke. Of the nearly 700,000 ischemic strokes each year, approximately 180,000 of them are recurrent.

This is why it is important to adhere to the following guidelines instituted by the American Stroke Association to help reduce stroke survivors’ risk of another stroke:

  1. Control your blood pressure: About 70 percent of people who have had a recent ischemic stroke also have high blood pressure. High blood pressure changes blood vessels, and there are 100,000 miles of them in your brain. At any moment, 20-25 percent of all your body’s blood is in your head. Keeping those vessels healthy is of the utmost importance.
  2. Reduce your cholesterol: Intensive – cholesterol lowering therapy is important for survivors whose stroke was caused by hardening of the arteries (also called atherosclerosis).
  3. Get moving: If you are capable of engaging in physical activity, aim for three or four sessions a week for moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic physical exercises, like brisk walking, swimming, water aerobics, or bike riding.
  4. Follow your doctor’s advice: Work with your healthcare professional to develop a personalized plan just for you.

Stroke Warning Signs:

It is important to recognize stroke symptoms and act quickly. If you think you are having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. F.A.S.T is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke and consists of the following symptoms:

  • Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
  • Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 9-1-1: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Beyond F.A.S.T, other symptoms you should be aware of include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg, arm or face.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If someone shows any of these symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or emergency medical services.
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Steven Bojarski, M.D., Neurology

Steven Bojarski, M.D. is a member of the active medical staff at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, Department of Internal/Family Medicine - Neurology. Dr. Bojarski graduated from University of Rome “La Sapienza”, located in Rome, Italy. He completed residency training at Temple University Hospital and Louisiana State University.

Dr. Bojarski is in practice with Tri-County Neurology, located at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, 1600 E. High Street, Suite 100, Pottstown PA, (610) 327-7766.