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Prevention

You can help to prevent stroke from intracerebral hemorrhage by controlling your blood pressure. If you take warfarin, educate yourself about the effect other drugs and foods can have on the level of the drug in your bloodstream. Too much warfarin in your blood can cause bleeding. You also should be treated for high cholesterol, avoid excessive alcohol use and never use cocaine or amphetamines. Smoking increases the risk of an aneurysm, so avoiding smoking may prevent some cases of hemorrhagic stroke.

It is almost impossible to prevent subarachnoid hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation, because these blood vessel abnormalities usually do not cause any symptoms before the hemorrhage occurs.

Some doctors have proposed screening tests, such as MRI angiography, to identify aneurysms before they cause a problem. However, this idea has been impractical for most people, because surgery to remove an aneurysm that is not causing any symptoms involves significant risks, and because most aneurysms never cause serious bleeding. This screening may make sense for some people who have two or more close relatives who have had intracerebral hemorrhages. Because aneurysm screening is controversial, you should consider the risks of surgery carefully with your doctor before you request a screening test.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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