Lifestyle changes and medications may help decrease your risk of having a stroke, but sometimes surgery may be necessary.
Healthy lifestyle changes may include:
- Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains
- Getting more exercise
- Getting your diabetes under control (if you are diabetic)
- Losing weight
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Lowering your cholesterol
- Quitting smoking
- Treating metabolic syndrome
Medications to reduce your risk of stroke may include blood thinners, which help lower the blood’s ability to form clots, and medications to reduce your blood pressure. If you’ve had an ischemic stroke, there are medications available that can dissolve the clot, but they must be administered within 3-4 hours of the stroke.
There are also devices that help filter blood clots from the left (arterial) side of the heart and lower the risk that any clots will travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
Surgical procedures to treat stroke or reduce the risk of stroke may include:
- Angioplasty and stenting: Your surgeon will insert a balloon into a clogged artery and inflate it to widen the space inside. Then, a stent (an expandable tube) is placed in the space to keep the artery propped open.
- Carotid endarterectomy: Your surgeon will remove the blockage that has caused or may cause a stroke.
- Cerebral bypass surgery (ECA/MCA/STA bypass surgery): First, your doctor will remove a blood vessel from another part of your body. Then he or she will drill a small hole into your skull and surgically connect the new vessel in your brain so blood can flow around the clogged artery, bypassing it entirely.