After a heart attack or stroke, as many as 1 in 4 survivors will have another one. However, lifestyle changes and working closely with your doctor to manage your health may minimize the risk of a repeat event.
Sticking to secondary prevention routines — by eating healthy, being active and taking medications as prescribed — is important as cases of COVID-19 increase.
“A heart attack or stroke is a very scary experience, and people try to avoid revisiting that difficult time,” said neurologist Lee Schwamm, MD, chair of the American Stroke Association and professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.
“Unfortunately, the risk of a repeat stroke is high, and lifestyle changes to reduce a person’s risk are almost always necessary to reduce those odds.”
Up to 80% of second clot-related strokes and heart attacks may be prevented by making healthy choices. Consider these tips from the American Stroke Association’s secondary heart attack and stroke prevention initiative, sponsored nationally by Bayer.
Blood Pressure ork with your doctor to ensure you’re maintaining a healthy blood pressure level below 130/80. High blood pressure is both a leading cause and major risk factor for stroke and heart attack.
Cholesterol edication and healthy lifestyle habits can help keep high cholesterol in check.
Blood Sugar aving diabetes, which is caused by high blood sugar, more than doubles your risk of stroke. Some people have diabetes and don’t know it until a medical emergency happens.
Medications f you are prescribed medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, make sure you take them as prescribed. If you had a clot-related stroke or a heart attack, your doctor may recommend aspirin to help prevent another event. Aspirin is not appropriate for everyone, so talk to your doctor before beginning an aspirin regimen.
Smoking f you smoke, stop. Smoking increases the risk of stroke and heart attack because it damages blood vessels, which can lead to blockages.
Physical Activity eing physically active at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week or 150 minutes per week is recommended by the American Stroke Association.
Even as COVID-19 cases strain emergency medicine, calling 9-1-1 still provides access to life-saving treatments for people experiencing medical emergencies. Emergency medical responders can assess symptoms, begin treatment and transport the patient to the most appropriate hospital, if necessary.
Based on current information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it appears people 65 and older and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, are more likely to be infected and develop more severe symptoms. Stroke survivors may face increased risk for complications if they get COVID-19.
Find more resources to help manage your risk at stroke.org/oneisenough (Family Features)