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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School


You can help to prevent lacunar stroke by preventing or controlling the risk factors for stroke high blood pressure, smoking, heart disease and diabetes. If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, follow your doctor's recommendations for modifying your diet and taking your medication. Exercise regularly, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoid foods filled with saturated fats and cholesterol. If you smoke, quit. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar level frequently, follow your diet, and take your insulin or oral diabetes medication as your doctor has prescribed.

If you have had a lacunar stroke, your doctor may recommend a daily aspirin or other blood-thinning medication, such as ticlopidine (Ticlid) or clopidogrel (Plavix). These medicines may reduce your risk, but their benefit has been more obvious for stroke types other than lacunar strokes. If you have never had a stroke of any kind, you might lower your risk for a first stroke if you take a daily aspirin. There is strong evidence that stroke risk is reduced for women over the age of 45 who take aspirin once every other day. This benefit has not been proven for men.

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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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