Control BP, do exercise to prevent second stroke: Study

Washington: Survived a stroke? Now is the time to control blood pressure, cholesterol and weight and do moderate physical activity daily to avoid another stroke.

According to a statement by American Heart Association, such patients should also receive other evidence-based therapy specific to their individual health, which may include aspirin therapy or a surgical procedure to keep neck arteries open.

“A vast amount of new research is revealing new and improved ways to protect patients with an ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack from having recurrent events and further brain damage,” said Walter Kernan, a professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine.

Treating high blood pressure is possibly most important for secondary prevention of ischemic stroke, according to the statement.

About 70 percent of people who have had a recent ischemic stroke also have high blood pressure.

Intensive cholesterol-lowering therapy is also important for survivors whose stroke was caused by hardened arteries.

However, the association no longer recommends niacin or fibrate drugs to raise good cholesterol, due to sparse data establishing their effectiveness at reducing secondary stroke risk, the statement added.

It is also good for stroke survivors to have three to four sessions per week of moderate-vigorous intensity aerobic physical exercise, such as walking briskly or riding a bike.

“Following a Mediterranean-type diet that emphasises vegetables, fruits, whole grains and includes low-fat dairy, poultry, fish, legumes and nuts and limits sweets and red meat is also beneficial,” the statement read.

The statement titled 'Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Patients with Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)', was published in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke.

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