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Duke doctor: Simple changes can reduce risk of stroke

Posted December 2, 2010
Updated December 3, 2010

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— Stroke is the third-leading cause of death and a major cause of adult disability. Almost 800,000 Americans have a stroke each year, but new guidelines are emphasizing simple lifestyle changes that can have a dramatic reduction in people’s risk of stroke.

“People taking charge of their own lives is particularly important for preventing stroke,” said Duke University neurologist Dr. Larry Goldstein.

Goldstein participated in writing new guidelines that emphasize lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of stroke. They include quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure, regular exercise, avoiding excess alcohol use and eating a well-balanced diet.

“Those things together are associated with a more than 80 percent reduction in the risk of a first stroke,” Goldstein said.

Medical health Simple changes could reduce stroke risk

There are some screening measures for high-risk patients, such as looking for narrowing of the carotid artery in the neck, which can lead people to medical or surgical intervention to clear the blockage, thus preventing stroke. But when prevention fails, a person’s life depends on awareness.

The warning signs of a stroke include a sudden onset of a headache, slurred speech, weakness or numbness on one side and vision problems.

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  • rbarfield Dec 7, 2010

    Early care when you go hospitals also helps. My dad waited 6 hours in the EMERGENCY ROOM at Wake Med in Raleigh N.C. He also had a 210/ 104 blood pressure.A medical asst. told my family later that had he been younger he would be given prompt service . BEWARE WAKE MED HAS A STROKE PREVENTION UNIT? I GUESS IF YOUR UNDER 78 YOU WILL BE OKAY?? STAY AWAY FROM WAKE MED!!!!!THEY DID AS MUCH AS SAY WE BLEW IT.

  • Kelondris Dec 6, 2010

    "reduce the risk of stroke. They include quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure, regular exercise, avoiding excess alcohol use and eating a well-balanced diet."

    I had a minor stroke over a year ago and I am 38 now. These factors don't apply to me other than the well-balanced diet, so if he is right . . . why did I have a stroke?

  • scientistjo Dec 3, 2010

    How do we know this Duke doc isn't making up his data too?

  • wilmalathrup Dec 2, 2010

    Timely for my family as my Mother-in-Law had a stroke just Tuesday night. One minute she was walking the dog next minute she was on the ground. She maintaned a healthy weight did not smoke or drink to excess. She took her B.P. meds daily. Sometimes you just get unlucky. Thanks for the info.