October 31, 2014
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Stroke Risk Reduction

Stroke Risk Reduction Health Home >> Stroke Risk Reduction 

What is the best way to work with my doctor?

Want to lower your stroke risk? Your doctor can help. Find out how:

How your doctor can help you reduce stroke risk

Here's how your doctor can help in your fight against stroke:

What your doctor can do How it helps you
Assess your risk of having another stroke Knowing your risk of another stroke helps guide your treatment plan and keep you motivated.
Identify your other stroke risk factors When you know all of your risk factors, you can work to control them.
Screen you for 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 reduce your risk of another 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.

When to see your doctor about stroke risk

If you have had a stroke or TIA, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about your stroke risk, especially if:

  • you don't know your risk of having another stroke
  • you aren't sure how to reduce your risk of having another stroke
  • 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 blood pressure
  • you haven't had your blood pressure checked in the last year
  • 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 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.

How to get the most out of seeing your doctor

You may only have a short time in your doctor's office. Here are the top 5 ways to make the most of it:

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. Ask your most important question first in case you run out of time.
     
  4. Take notes so you remember your doctor's instructions.
     
  5. 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.
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