The National Stroke Association supports the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines on the prevention of secondary stroke. These guidelines recommend low-dose aspirin (i.e., 50 mg to 325 mg) as safe and effective therapy to prevent a stroke in patients who already have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (i.e., sudden, temporary interruption of blood flow to the brain).
In the United States, there is controversy as to which aspirin dose is most effective in reducing stroke risk. Historically, higher doses have been used more regularly. These guidelines suggest daily doses of aspirin as low as 50 mg are effective in stroke prevention. Primary support for the FDA recommendations was provided by the European Stroke Prevention Study (ESPS2), the largest stroke prevention trial ever conducted.
In addition to showing benefit of 50 mg of aspirin alone, the ESPS2 trial also found that a combination of the antiplatelet agent dipyridamole and aspirin was even more effective, reducing the risk of secondary stroke by 37%. Aspirin reduced risk by 18%, and the effect of dipyridamole and aspirin were additive.
Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. However, many strokes can be prevented by reducing risk factors and recognizing the warning signs. Risk factors for stroke are either controllable and uncontrollable. Controllable risk factors, which can be reduced through medication and behavior modifications, include:
* High blood pressure.
* Atrial fibrillation and other heart diseases.
* High cholesterol.
Risk factors that cannot be controlled include age, gender, race, family history, and previous stroke.
* Sudden numbness and weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
* Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding.
* Sudden difficulty seeing in one or both eyes.
* Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
* Sudden severe headache with no know cause.
For more information, contact the National Stroke Association, 96 Inverness Drive East, Suite I, Englewood, CO 80112-5112, or call (800) STROKES or (800) 787-6537, or fax (303) 649-1328, or e-mail email@example.com.