Medical prevention of stroke, 2003

South Med J. 2003 Apr;96(4):354-8. doi: 10.1097/01.SMJ.0000063469.77850.08.


Stroke is a preventable tragedy for nearly 750,000 people each year. Primary stroke prevention measures applicable to the general public include a healthy diet containing fruits, vegetables, fish, and low fat; exercise; smoking cessation; limiting alcohol to moderate use; and perhaps avoidance of stress. Screening for hypertension, cholesterol, heart disease, and carotid artery stenosiscan lead to even more effective stroke prevention in high-risk patients. Specific antihypertensive drugs such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin-converting enzyme receptor blockers may be especially protective against stroke. Secondary stroke prevention in patients who have already had a stroke or transient ischemic attack is even more effective in preventing more serious strokes. Measures include antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering agents, carotid endarterectomy, anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation and other cardiac sources of embolic stroke, and antiplatelet therapy. Stroke prevention depends on the application of these well-known and widely available treatments to a large number of patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia* / complications
  • Hypercholesterolemia* / drug therapy
  • Hypertension* / complications
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / prevention & control*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Aspirin