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J Neurol. 2002 May;249(5):507-17.

Stroke prevention: management of modifiable vascular risk factors.

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Department of Neurology, Stroke department, Roger Salengro Hospital, 59037 Lille, France.


Stroke prevention is a crucial issue because (i) stroke is a frequent and severe disorder, and (ii) acute stroke therapies that are effective at the individual level have only a little impact in term of public health. Stroke prevention consists of the combination of 3 strategies: an optimal management of vascular risk factors, associated when appropriate with antithrombotic therapies, carotid surgery, or both. Primary prevention trials have shown that reducing blood pressure in hypertensive subjects reduces their vascular risk, including stroke. The association of perindopril plus indapamide reduces the vascular risk in patients who have had a stroke or TIA during the last 5 years, irrespective of their baseline blood pressure. Lowering serum cholesterol with statins or gemfibrozil in patients with hypercholesterolemia or coronary heart disease (CHD), reduces the risk of stroke. However, no trial of cholesterol-lowering therapy has been completed in stroke patients. A strict control of high cholesterol levels should be encouraged, because of benefits in terms of CHD. Statins should be prescribed for stroke patients with CHD, or increased cholesterol levels. Cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk of stroke and should be avoided. Careful control of all risk factors, especially arterial hypertension in type 1 and type 2 diabetics is recommended, together with a strict glycemic control to reduce systemic microvascular complications. Estrogens prescribed in hormone replacement or oral contraceptive therapies are not recommended after an ischemic stroke. It is also recommended to reduce alcohol consumption and obesity, and to increase physical activity in patients at risk for first-ever or recurrent stroke. An optimal management of risk factors for stroke is crucial to reduce the risks of first-ever stroke, recurrent stroke, any vascular event after stroke and vascular death. One of the major public health issues for the coming years will be to focus more on risk factor recognition and management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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