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For Caregivers: Preventing Another Stroke

Woman walking with man with cane.Having had a stroke, your loved one is at higher risk of having another. Medication, exercise, and diet are keys to reducing this risk. Your loved one needs to be active each day now. Walking is a good way to get daily exercise. You might also ask the doctor to refer you to a dietitian. This specialist in nutrition can help you reduce many common risk factors for stroke. Smoking cessation is also critical to reducing risk of stroke. Talk with your loved one about quitting smoking. Ask his or her health care provider for help. 

Taking medication

Your loved one may take more than 1 type of medication. Each must be used as directed. If medications include a blood thinner, your loved one may need regular blood tests.

Tips for safe medication use

  • Make sure medications are taken on schedule. If timing is vital, set an alarm.

  • Keep pill doses in a divided tray. A pill box can help. 

  • Know which foods or liquids the patient should avoid while taking prescribed medications.

Reducing the risk of stroke

Many factors that increase the risk of stroke can be reduced. Your loved one’s doctor and a dietitian can advise ways to:

  • Lower high blood pressure

  • Improve cholesterol

  • Control heart disease

  • Manage diabetes

  • Lose excess weight

  • Reduce risk of blood clots by taking blood thinners as recommended by the health care provider

  • Stay active with aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises

Warning signs of another stroke

If your loved one suddenly has any of the problems below, call 911 immediately for emergency medical help:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs, especially on 1 side

  • Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding

  • Trouble seeing in 1 or both eyes

  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

  • Severe headache with no known cause

  • Loss of consciousness or a seizure 


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