After a stroke, it’s important to remember that your body has just experienced a major trauma. The greatest improvements in recovery happen within the first 3 months, so patience and positivity are key! The earlier a patient begins rehabilitation, the better the outcome. Because the brain controls everything, it now has to recreate pathways and compensate for that damaged area. It is common to feel more fatigued during this time, but this is something that will get better with time.
A common question we hear from patients after they’ve had a stroke is “will this happen again?” Unfortunately, we cannot do a test that tells us whether you are about to have another stroke. After having 1 stroke, you are at a lifetime risk of having a recurrent stroke, and this risk is especially higher within the first 3 months. The good news is that if you manage your risk factors, take prescribed medications, eat healthy and exercise regularly, you greatly reduce your risk of having another stroke.
How to reduce your risk:
- Maintain wellness through a good diet and nutrition.
- Exercise for 30 continuous minutes a day.
- Manage blood pressure – typically we like this less than 130/90 – and monitor it at home
- Keep cholesterol in check – we look at your bad cholesterol, or your LDL, and we want this less than 70.
- If you have diabetes, keep your A1c less than 6.5.
- Stop smoking.
You will also team up with your primary care provider for continuous monitoring and management of your cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes.
Cone Health has a highly-specialized team that coordinates a state-of-the-art program to identify and treat stroke patients quickly and effectively.
Jessica VanSchaick, MSN, AGNP, is a board-certified adult-gerontology nurse practitioner at Guilford Neurologic Associates and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. VanSchaick specializes in neurology and stroke care. She received both her Bachelor of Science in nursing and Master of Science in nursing from the University of Rochester School of Nursing.