Taking action against stroke
As with many high-risk conditions, the first step is to make some basic lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of having a stroke. In particular:
- Know and control your blood pressure
- Stop smoking
- Control alcohol use
- Know your cholesterol levels
- Control diabetes
- Manage exercise and diet
What are the treatments available?
While lifestyle choices are a fundamental first step, atrial fibrillation is a complex condition. However, there are therapies to help manage it and to help reduce the risk of stroke.
Although treatment of AF varies from person to person, there are two main strategies to deal with it:
▶ Understand Your Treatment Options
- Medical therapy – this is when you are prescribed drugs designed to control your heart rate and rhythm or prevent the formation of blood clots that can lead to complications such as stroke.
- Surgical interventions or electrical procedures – surgical procedures are invasive procedures that aim to control AF by blocking parts of the heart's internal electrical conduction system. Surgery is usually reserved for people who cannot take AF-correcting medications or those who react badly to anticoagulation therapies. An electrical procedure, using low energy shocks, is used to convert the heart rhythm back to normal.
"The use of anticoagulants have the potential to reduce the risk of a stroke by up to 67%" 27
Why is it important to discuss treatment options with a doctor?
Your doctor is your guide and your point of reference to understand which therapy is best suited for your condition. However, it is easy to feel rushed during your appointment and to forget to ask questions or to clarify some of the answers. Here are some useful tips to help you make the most of your visit.