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J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2006 Sep-Oct;21(5 Suppl 1):S21-6.

Stroke prevention and management in older adults.

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University of Maryland School of Nursing, The Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, Baltimore, USA.


Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a foremost cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. As cardiovascular and metabolic disease incidence rises with age, older people are more likely to experience strokes. Age is the single most important risk factor for stroke. For each successive 10 years after age 55, the stroke rate more than doubles in both men and women. However, stroke is not an inevitable consequence of aging. By identifying and modifying risk factors in older people, nurses can partner with other providers to reduce the incidence, morbidity, and mortality associated with stroke in older adults. Control of hypertension, resolution of dyslipidemia, management of diabetes mellitus, anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation, promotion of exercise and healthy diet, and cessation of cigarette smoking are of particular importance in older adults. Recognition of stroke symptoms, access to emergency evaluation and treatments, and participation in comprehensive rehabilitation may determine stroke outcomes in aging. This article presents stroke risk factors and primary and secondary prevention in the context of aging, with special considerations in the identification and management of acute stroke, recovery, and rehabilitation for older adults who survive stroke.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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