Am I at a Greater Risk for a Stroke After a Heart Attack?
Find the answers to questions that pique your curiosity in our series “The Short Answer.” M. Shazam Hussain, MD, fields this one about stroke risk after a heart attack.
A: The short answer is yes. Risk for ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot is elevated for the first three months following a heart attack. However, through a close evaluation following heart attack or stroke can help address risk factors faster, and therefore help with prevention.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
In terms of treatment, it is likely that a light blood thinner (such as aspirin or another antiplatelet medication) will be prescribed. If atrial fibrillation is detected, stronger blood thinners will be necessary to help prevent stroke. Diabetes and blood pressure will continue to be regulated — possibly, with medication — in addition to following a consistent diet and exercise plan.
Don’t wait to have a heart attack before taking preventative measures. A yearly physical exam with blood tests and blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings will help your physician to determine your stroke risk. If you are at a higher risk for stroke due to:
An ultrasound of your arteries may be done to look for cholesterol buildup, and a more intensive prevention plan may be devised.
– M. Shazam Hussain, MD
Director, Cleveland Clinic Cerebrovascular Center