Want to lower your stroke risk? Your doctor can help. Find out how:
- How your doctor can help you reduce stroke risk
- When to see your doctor about stroke risk
- How to get the most out of seeing your doctor
Here's how your doctor can help in your fight against stroke:
|What your doctor can do||How it helps you|
|Identify your other stroke risk factors||When you know all of your risk factors, you can work to control them.|
|Screen you for other medical conditions that increase your risk of stroke and give you a treatment plan to help control them||When you control these medical conditions, your stroke risk goes down.|
|Suggest healthy lifestyle changes to help you lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke||It's easier to get started with healthy living when you have a plan.|
|Give you regular medical check-ups||Regular check-ups will show you whether your medical conditions and other stroke risk factors are under control.|
|Offer advice and support when you have questions or concerns||Resolving your questions and concerns can help you stay on track with your stroke risk reduction plan.|
Talk to your doctor about your stroke risk and how you can work together to reduce it.
If you have high blood pressure, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about your stroke risk, especially if:
- you haven't had your blood pressure checked in the last year
- you're not sure whether your blood pressure is under control
- you're not sure how to reduce your risk of a stroke related to high blood pressure
- you have questions or concerns about your blood pressure medication
- you sometimes miss doses of your blood pressure medication
- you have questions or concerns about your high blood pressure treatment plan
- you have atrial fibrillation
- you have heart palpitations (an irregular and rapid heartbeat, typically experienced as a rapid thumping in the chest)
- you have diabetes
- you're over 40 and you haven't had a blood sugar test to check for diabetes in the last 3 years
- you have high cholesterol
- you're a man over 40 or a woman over 50 and you haven't had your cholesterol checked in the last 3 years
- you've had a stroke or TIA in the past
- you are over 65
- a close family member (such as a parent, sibling, or child) had a stroke before age 65
- you smoke
- you regularly drink more than 2 drinks a day or 10 drinks a week for women, or more than 3 drinks a day or 15 drinks a week for men
- you don't have an active lifestyle (this does not apply to people whose doctor has not given them approval to exercise)
- you have any other concerns about your stroke risk
Contact your doctor to discuss your stroke risk.
You may only have a short time in your doctor's office. Here are the top 5 ways to make the most of it:
- Do your homework: Write down what you're hoping to get out of the visit, what you want to ask the doctor, and any concerns you may have. Bring a record of your medications, medical conditions, allergies, and medical history.
Use the Doctor Discussion Guide to keep track of this information and prepare for talking with your doctor.
- Bring a friend: You may want to bring a friend or family member to your appointment to make you feel less intimidated, help you remember to ask all of your questions, and take notes.
- Ask your most important question first in case you run out of time.
- Take notes so you remember your doctor's instructions.
- Speak up if you don't understand: Don't be afraid to ask questions if you are confused. It can also help to repeat back what you've heard in your own words to make sure you've understood it.