Life After Stroke: How to Avoid a Second Stroke

Woman pushing woman in wheelchair

Did you know, recurrent strokes make up one-fourth of the approximate 795,000 strokes experienced in the U.S. each year?

The good news? Between lifestyle changes and medical interventions, 80 percent of secondary strokes can be prevented.

Stroke recovery is different for each person and their loved ones. If you’re helping your loved one recover from a stroke, it’s important to consider these tips for managing recurrent stroke risk:

Eat Well

Eating a healthy diet is important for many reasons — from managing weight to reducing your risk of conditions like hypertension and diabetes. For someone recovering from a stroke, a proper diet can help nourish the body to stay active, complete rehab, and get back to normal activities.

Unfortunately, eating after a stroke may not be as easy as it once was. Brain damage can make it difficult to chew and swallow, and may also affect one’s appetite and mood. As such, it’s important to consult with a health care provider on specific dietary concerns or for problems eating. Though in general, maintaining a diet low in sodium, sugar, saturated fats, and cholesterol can lower secondary stroke risk.

Increase Activity

Physical inactivity is a common risk factor for stroke, so naturally increasing physical activity can help maintain a stroke survivor’s health through rehabilitation and the rest of their life. But since strokes affect everyone differently, it’s important to work with a physical therapist to determine the best exercise plan for yourself or a loved one.

A physical therapist can help a person relearn how to walk or move safely from a chair to their bed, as well as use new devices, like a cane or walker. These movements or exercises may be done in-person with the physical therapist and at home — with some assistance from a caregiver. Exercises may feel repetitive or boring at times, but as long as one sticks to the routine, progress will come!

Stop Smoking

Smoking is detrimental to one’s health in a number of ways and also doubles the risk of a secondary stroke. If you or your loved one have not yet quit the habit, now is the time to do so.

The good news is once you make the commitment to quit, the benefits start right away. Oxygen levels return to normal and carbon monoxide and nicotine levels are reduced in just eight hours. After a year of being smoke-free, your risk of heart attack is half that of a smoker.

Take Prescribed Medications

After a stroke, one may be prescribed medications they’ve never taken before, like medicine to control blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes. Taking these medications is a critical part of stroke recovery and recurrent stroke prevention.

Despite feeling better, it’s essential to continue taking medications as prescribed until the doctor gives the go-ahead to stop. While these medications may not be the cure-all, they do play an important role in lowering the risk of secondary stroke or heart attack.

Enlist the Help of a Charlotte Home Care Agency

If you’re caring for a loved one who has suffered a stroke, you don’t need to do it alone. At Homewatch CareGivers of Charlotte, our Charlotte in-home caregivers specialize in care for people of all ages through stroke recovery.

We’re able to ensure your loved one adheres to a healthy diet, help them complete prescribed movements or exercises, and provide medication reminders — all in an effort to take some of the weight off your shoulders and help them return to an independent life.

Contact us today to learn more about our stroke care services.

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