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Stroke: How to Prevent Another One

British Columbia Specific Information

A stroke is a brain injury caused by blood flow to the brain being blocked, or bleeding in the brain. After having a stroke you may experience physical, mental and emotional complications. These could include: weakness on one side of the body, joint pain, trouble walking, speech and language difficulties, trouble with memory or focusing, etc. Stroke rehabilitation programs can help you continue to live as independently as possible after a stroke, and to learn to adjust to the physical and mental changes caused by your stroke.

To find stroke recovery and rehabilitation programs in your area, search HealthLinkBC's FIND Services and Resources Directory. For more information on stroke recovery, visit Heart and Stroke Foundation or Stroke Recovery Association of British Columbia.

For more information on exercising to prevent a stroke or rehabilitation exercises after a stroke, call 8-1-1 to speak with a qualified exercise professional Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm PST. You may also call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


After a stroke, people feel lots of different emotions. Some people are worried that they could have another stroke. Or they may feel overwhelmed by how much there is to learn and do. Some people feel sad or depressed.

No matter what emotions you are feeling, you can give yourself some control and peace of mind by following your plan to lower your risk of having another stroke.

Take your medicines

You'll need to take medicines to help prevent another stroke. Be sure to take your medicines exactly as prescribed. And don't stop taking them unless your doctor tells you to. If you stop taking your medicines, you can increase your risk of having another stroke.

Some of the medicines your doctor may prescribe include:

  • Aspirin or some other blood thinner to prevent blood clots.
  • Statins and other medicines to lower cholesterol.
  • Blood pressure medicines to lower blood pressure.

Manage other health problems

You can help lower your chance of having another stroke by managing certain other health problems. Problems that increase your risk of having another stroke include:

  • Atrial fibrillation.
  • Carotid artery disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol.

If you have any of these health problems, you can manage them with a healthy lifestyle along with medicine.

If you think you may have a problem with alcohol or drug use, talk to your doctor. This includes prescription medicines (such as amphetamines and opioids) and drugs (such as cocaine and methamphetamine). Your doctor can help you figure out what type of treatment is best for you.

Have a heart-healthy lifestyle

  • Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around you. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good. Smoking makes a stroke more likely.
  • If you drink alcohol, try to drink less. Your risk of harm from alcohol is low if you have 2 drinks or less per week. Work with your doctor to find what is right for you.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Lose weight if you need to. Managing your weight will help you keep your heart and body healthy.
  • Be active. Ask your doctor what type and level of activity is safe for you.
  • Eat heart-healthy foods. These include vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, lean meat, fish, and whole grains. Limit sodium and sugar.

It's also important to:

  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19, influenza (flu), and pneumonia.
  • Ask for help if you think you are depressed.

Do stroke rehab

Taking part in a stroke rehabilitation (rehab) program also helps you take steps to prevent another stroke. Rehab can help you recover, prevent problems, and help you to regain skills you lost or make the most of your abilities after a stroke.

Your rehab team will give you education and support to help you build new, healthy habits. You'll learn how to manage any other health problems that you might have. You'll also learn how to exercise safely, eat a healthy diet, and quit smoking if you smoke. You'll work with your team to decide what lifestyle choices are best for you.

If your doctor hasn't already suggested it, ask if stroke rehab is right for you.


Current as of: December 19, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Richard D. Zorowitz MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation