How can the risk of future transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or stroke be decreased?

To reduce the risk of a future TIAs or strokes, follow these tips:

  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Monitor your blood pressure and follow your doctor’s treatment plan if your blood pressure is high. The target blood pressure is less than 140/90 mm Hg for all adults who have a history of TIA or stroke. Choice of drug therapy depends on many patient specific considerations.
  • Monitor your cholesterol and follow your doctor’s treatment plan if your cholesterol level is high. The target low density liproprotein (LDL) level is less than 100 mg/dl in patients with atherosclerotic stroke or TIA and lower than 70 mg/dl in patients who also have diabetes. Statin drugs are the drugs of choice if drug therapy is recommended.
  • Eat a Mediterranean-style diet (a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, legumes, poultry, olive oil, nuts, and low-fat dairy products). Limit your intake of red meat and sweets. Reduce your salt (sodium) intake to less than 2.4 g/day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Stop drinking alcohol, except in moderation (up to two drinks per day for men and up to 1 drink per day for nonpregnant women).
  • Exercise. Engage in three to four, 40-minute sessions of moderate to intense aerobic exercise per week. Moderate to intense exercise means the activity causes you to break a sweat or noticeably raise your heart rate. Examples include a brisk walk or using an exercise bike.
  • Wear your CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and your doctor recommended use of this device.

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