I’ve had a stroke, will I have another one?


One out of four people over the age of 25 may suffer a stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA) during their lifetime. Once you’ve had a stroke, the risk of this happening again is increased. According to a study by the Rochester firm, during the year following the event, the recurrence rate is 10% and increases to 20% within the following 5 years.


So what should we do to reduce the chances of a second attack? Initially, we must bear in mind that there are risk factors over which we do not have much control. Age, for example, is one of them: from 55 years old and onwards, the possibility of experiencing a stroke increases. Gender and race are also characteristics to consider since men and Hispanic or African-American people have a greater predisposition to this type of disease.

Therefore, prevention efforts should focus on modifiable risk factors:

Managing underlying conditions

Hypertension: Blood pressure is the amount of force your blood is exerting against the walls of the arteries. When this pressure is high, we are referring to hypertension, which is a condition that can damage blood vessels inside the brain or promote the obstruction of these ducts, thus generating the perfect scenario for a stroke.

According to the World Health Organization, 46% of hypertensive adults worldwide are unaware they suffer from this condition. The recommendation of specialists is to have periodic controls to detect any anomaly in a timely manner.

Diabetes: High blood sugar levels promote damage to blood vessels and the formation of clots within them. Keeping these levels in normal ranges helps reduce the risk of stroke.

Cholesterol: A high blood cholesterol level increases the risk of clogged arteries. High cholesterol does not cause symptoms, so it is essential to measure blood cholesterol levels periodically to determine if they are elevated and provide appropriate treatment.

Avoid smoking: Different studies conclude that smoking increases the risk of ischemic stroke by two to four times, several studies have shown that the risk increases with the number of cigarettes consumed, and exposure to second-hand smoke also poses some danger.

Balanced diet: Eating a diet with limited consumption of cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats reduce the risk of narrowing of the arteries and therefore of strokes.  Similarly, keeping salt consumption to a minimum helps lower blood pressure, one of the most relevant risk factors.

Maintain a healthy weight: Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) to avoid overweight and obesity is essential to prevent complications such as diabetes and hypertension, which can damage blood vessels in the brain.

Alcohol intake should be limited: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this practice also increases triglyceride levels, a type of fat in the blood that can harden arteries.

Physical activity: Walking, jogging, cycling, or any other moderate physical activity helps reduce blood pressure and improve the condition of blood vessels and the heart.

It is estimated that 4 out of 5 strokes can be prevented by following these healthy lifestyle recommendations.

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