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Prevention and Patient Education

Roles of patient education in primary and secondary prevention

Strokes are not inevitable

•Explain that there are now diagnostic and treatment strategies that can help to prevent some strokes. They may:
(1) correct a problem before a full-blown stroke occurs or 
(2) if a stroke does occur, may restore circulation "before any brain dies"

Reducing stroke risk

•Inform and motivate patient to reduce risks by explaining medical and lifestyle factors

Recgnizing warning signs of TIA/stroke

•Discuss the major stroke warning signs
•Provide appropriate patient education material

Knowing how to •Advise patient or family members to call 911 immediately and tell dispatcher about stroke warning signs, or go to the hospital emergency room if it is nearby. They should not delay in order to consult relatives or to discuss the situation with their physician
Prevention/Follow-up care Explain what has happened, and how risk modification and medical or surgical treatment can be effective in reducing the chances of having a stroke. Follow-up care after a stroke can help prevent future possibly more serious strokes in the future.

As a reminder, these are the five warning signs of stroke as described in patient education literature provided by the American Stroke Association:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause