Stroke prevention and “secondary prevention”

Within the last 25 years, many significant and paradigm-shifting strides have been made in acute stroke care. These breakthroughs have made a major difference in the lives of patients and their families. Unfortunately, not all stroke patients are eligible for these acute treatments – particularly those who do not arrive to the hospital within the first several hours after their stroke symptoms are recognized. For this reason, detection methods like BEFAST are very important and help with early recognition of stroke symptoms.

Another major factor in reducing the number of strokes and the burden of damage resulting from these strokes is referred to as “secondary prevention.” Secondary prevention is the process of working to find the source or cause of the stroke and addressing that issue to prevent further strokes. When this is possible, the reduction in further events is staggering.

In instances when a particular cause remains unknown, the major risk factors for stroke such as high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, abnormal heart rhythms and blood clotting disorders, need to be screened. Identifying the presence of risk factors and working with a patient’s primary care provider as well as other specialists can also greatly reduce future events. Our stroke team uses a combination of advanced head and neck imaging techniques, state of the art cardiac ultrasound and thorough blood testing to aide in the process of developing a suitable medical regimen.

Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital is the flagship stroke center at Prisma Health–Upstate. GMH is a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, and thus our team provides the highest level of stroke care that is recognized by the Joint Commission. Our providers do an excellent job in all aspects of stroke care, ranging from the acute period on through the follow up care. We emphasize the importance of secondary prevention as much all other aspects of stroke as we strive to promote a healthy lifestyle for our patients.

Article author Neel Shah, MD, is a vascular neurologist and neurohospitalist with Neuroscience Associates.

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