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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago


Stroke can be a result of carotid artery disease. The major cause of carotid artery disease is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease that mainly affects the major arteries in the body, but it occurs to some extent in all arteries.

Atherosclerosis cannot be cured. However, lifestyle changes may prevent new blockages from developing or recurrence of arterial disease after intervention.

Key Steps for Stroke Prevention

Know the warning signs of a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke:

  • sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body
  • sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in only one eye
  • loss of speech, or trouble talking or understanding speech
  • sudden, severe headache with no known cause
  • unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or sudden falls, especially along with any of the previous symptoms

Know the risk factors of stroke.

Modify your risk factors of stroke. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make that can help reduce your risk for stroke, including:

  • Eating right—a low-fat, low-salt diet helps lower cholesterol. Too much cholesterol in the blood can clog your arteries, increasing stroke risk
  • Exercising—regular exercise to improve health and lose weight
  • Not smoking—smoking doubles your risk of having a stroke
  • Controlling high blood pressure—one of the major risk factors for stroke, reducing blood pressure reduces risk of stroke
  • Management of diabetes—people with diabetes are as many as four times likelier to have a stroke than someone without it

Seek medical treatment for those risk factors that are treatable.

Obtain regular medical check-ups.

If any of the above symptoms occur, DO NOT IGNORE THEM, even if they last only five or ten minutes. Go to the emergency room immediately or call 911. Stroke is a medical emergency.

Screening for carotid artery disease may reduce complications associated with stroke.


For more information regarding stroke prevention, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 1-866-662-8467 or request an appointment online.

Last UpdateApril 19, 2012