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Ther Adv Cardiovasc Dis. 2008 Aug;2(4):287-303. doi: 10.1177/1753944708093847.

Stroke prevention: modifying risk factors.

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Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Risk factor modification remains as the principal aspect of care for stroke prevention. Understanding of risk factors has advanced and several options are now available to treat modifiable risk factors. However, effective treatment remains a challenging task in clinical practice. Prevention begins with awareness of risk factors by patients and clinicians. Risk factor assessment along with overall stroke risk estimation should be part of evaluation of patients with stroke, and used with careful clinical judgment. In this review, we discuss the impact of modifiable traditional vascular risk factors on ischemic stroke, interventions for stroke prevention, and evidence for early treatment of risk factors where available, as well as areas of research progress. Emphasis should be put on the education of patients, the community, and medical personnel. Future research in the field of genetic determinants of vascular risk factors and stroke will increase our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of cerebrovascular disease and likely result in development of new therapies and individualized programs for stroke prevention.

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