There are steps that can be taken to prevent a stroke and drugs that can be given in the event of a stroke.
- Preventive measures involve identifying risk factors such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes so they can be treated and taking medications such as anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin) and antiplatelet agents (e.g, aspirin, clopidogrel) if you are at risk or have had an ischemic stroke. Certain procedures may be performed to remove blockages from blood vessels.
- If a person is having a stroke, immediate action is necessary. A drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a "clot-buster," can be given for ischemic stroke within 3 hours of the start of symptoms, which may reduce the chances of long-term disability.
- Surgical procedures may be recommended for those who have had a hemorrhagic stroke to prevent known aneurysms from rupturing or to remove abnormal vessels.
- For those who have disabilities as a result of a stroke, such as weakness or paralysis on one side of the body and speech or memory problems, rehabilitation can be helpful.
It is important that anyone with sudden onset of symptoms suggestive of a stroke or TIA seek medical attention as soon as possible.