These factors independently predicted survival at five years after taking into account age, sex, other risk factors, the severity of the stroke and the type of stroke, the researchers noted.
"Despite the overall low risk of death in the young after the first-ever ischemic stroke, several easily recognizable factors associate independently with the long-term mortality," the researchers write. "Regarding young adults with a long expected life span ahead, detecting these factors are important, because in most patients, they can be modified by lifestyle changes, strictly controlled medication or invasive interventions, when indicated," they conclude.
Dr. Argye Hillis, an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University, said that other studies have found that the most common cause of death after a stroke is a heart condition.
To increase the chances of surviving a stroke, Hillis recommends living a healthy lifestyle. "Don't smoke, keep your blood pressure controlled, eat well, exercise -- all the things we know are good for the heart are also good for stroke patients and prevent death after stroke," she said.
In addition, to prevent another stroke, many of these patients take aspirin or other blood thinners, Hillis said.
For more on stroke, visit the American Stroke Association.
SOURCES: Argye Hillis, M.D., associate professor, neurology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; S. Claiborne Johnston, M.D., Ph.D., director, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of California, San Francisco; July 9, 2009, Stroke, online
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