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How To Prevent A Stroke

public health benefits, it makes sense to invest in programs aimed at improving the health of women during pregnancy," Goldstein said. "Dividends may pay off decades later by potentially reducing the chances of stroke – and all the health costs that go with it – later in life."

Modifiable risk factors

In the guidelines, modifiable risk factors are categorized as "well-documented" or "less well-documented or potentially modifiable."

The guidelines reiterate some well-known prevention measures such as controlling high blood pressure, not smoking, avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke, being physically active and treating disorders that increase the risk of stroke such as atrial fibrillation (a type of irregular heartbeat), carotid artery disease and heart failure.

The guidelines suggest physicians consider using a risk assessment tool such as the Framingham Stroke Profile to assess patients' risk.

"It is important to identify patients at high risk of stroke because research shows that many strokes can be prevented if those individuals modify their risk factors," Goldstein said.

Some new recommendations for "well-documented" stroke risk factors include:

1) Refer patients with rare genetic causes of stroke for genetic counseling,
2) Treat high-risk diabetic patients with statins,
3) Increase intake of potassium and reduce salt intake to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension,
4) Start transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound screenings for children with sickle cell disease at age 2 and consider transfusion therapy for those found to be at high stroke risk,
5) Evaluate adult sickle cell patients for known stroke risk factors and manage them according to stroke prevention guidelines.

The "less well-documented or potentially modifiable" risk factors have less clear-cut epidemiological evidence or lack randomized clinical trials documenting stroke risk reduct
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