How to Avoid TIAs and Strokes
Depending on a patient's medical history and the results of a physical exam and other tests, the healthcare provider may recommend drug therapy or surgery to reduce the risk of stroke in people who have had a TIA.
Some commonly prescribed medicines that doctors may recommend for a person with a history of a TIA include:
- Warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®)
- Clopidogrel (Plavix®)
- Ticlopidine (Ticlid®)
- Dipyridamole (Persantine®)
- Aspirin and dipyridamole (Aggrenox®).
Doctors may recommend certain procedures for people who have had a TIA in order to decrease the risk for a stroke. One of these procedures is a carotid endarterectomy. A carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure in which a doctor removes fatty deposits blocking one of the two carotid arteries, the main supply of blood for the brain.
TIAs are often warning signs that a person is at risk for a more serious and debilitating stroke. About one-third of those who have a TIA will have an acute stroke within five years. Many strokes can be prevented by heeding the warning signs of TIAs and treating underlying risk factors.
The most important treatable factors linked to TIAs and stroke include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Cigarette smoking
- Heart disease, including atrial fibrillation
- Carotid artery disease
Lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining healthy weight, exercising, and controlling medical conditions can reduce the risk for either a TIA or stroke.
(Click Stroke Prevention for more information on how strokes and TIAs can be prevented.)