No products in the cart.

Second Stroke Survival: Statistics and Tips for Prevention

Doctor comforting stroke patient and telling him about second stroke survival

Many stroke patients experience anxiety over having another stroke. If you’re curious about second stroke survival, we have some answers for you.

While the statistics on second stroke survival might seem grim, it’s important to remember that stroke survival rates are the best they have ever been.

You’re about to discover more statistics on second stroke survival, along with actionable steps you can take to reduce your risk of recurrent stroke.

What Is The Risk of a Second Stroke?

The riskiest time for a second stroke occurs during the first three months after the initial infarction, according to Dr. Jodi Edwards, a postdoctoral fellow at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center.

During these first 3 months, the person’s risk of stroke is 15 times higher than the general population. One year later, the risk is reduced, but survivors are still seven times more likely to suffer a second stroke.

This makes it even more crucial to follow all the advice your doctor provides to help manage your stroke risk factors (which we will discuss soon).

After these first few months, a patient’s risk of a second stroke remains elevated for at least five years, according to recent studies.

These statistics are grim, and the risk of recurrent stroke is one of the biggest causes of post-stroke anxiety. Fortunately, by taking steps to improve your health, you can help reduce your risk of a second stroke.

Factors that Affect Second Stroke Survival

Each year, 795,000 strokes occur in the United States. Of those, around 23% are recurrent strokes.

That’s the bad news. But the good news is stroke treatment and rehabilitation methods have vastly improved over the last decade. So much so, in fact, that stroke survival rates are the best they have ever been.

However, even with advanced treatments, second strokes are still a serious matter. That’s why emphasis on stroke prevention is so critical.

To reduce the likelihood of a second stroke, it helps to focus on the factors that put patients at greater risk. According to researchers, these factors include:

  • Chronic hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Prolonged inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes

Therefore, stroke prevention techniques should focus on addressing these problems before they become too serious.

Preventing a Second Stroke

According to the Copenhagen Stroke Study, around 25% of stroke survivors experience a second stroke. Fortunately, it is possible to reduce your likelihood of recurrent stroke by taking the correct precautions.

The following are some of the most effective ways to reduce your chances of a second stroke:

1. Quit Smoking

Closeup of woman's hands breaking cigarette because she is quitting smoking to improve second stroke survival chance

Tobacco contains over 7,000 harmful chemicals, including carbon monoxide. When you inhale cigarette smoke, carbon monoxide and nicotine enter your bloodstream. The carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood, causing your heart to pump faster to compensate.

This in turn raises your blood pressure, which increases your risk of a second stroke. The chemicals in cigarette smoke also make your blood platelets more likely to stick together, increasing the chances of a blood clot.

All of these factors make smoking one of the most dangerous activities for stroke patients. Therefore, if you haven’t quit yet, now is the time. The risks are just not worth it.

2. Practice Cardiovascular Exercises

The more active you are, the stronger your heart gets, which means it can pump with less effort. This puts less strain on your arteries and will lower your risk of a second stroke.

In fact, exercising enough to break a sweat a few times a week can reduce your risk of second stroke by around 20 percent.

Some examples of cardio activities you can do at home include:

  • Walks around your neighborhood
  • Short bike rides
  • Gardening

Unfortunately, mobility impairments after a stroke can make cardio exercises difficult for many patients. If that is the case, keep up with your daily rehab exercises until your motor skills improve.

3. Manage Anxiety

healthy senior man meditating by lake to reduce his anxiety

Anxiety after stroke is extremely common. However, living with long-term anxiety raises your blood pressure and can increase your risk of a second stroke.

Therefore, it is critical to take measures to manage your post-stroke anxiety. Some methods you can use include

If these methods do not work for you, talk to your doctor about any anti-anxiety medications that might help.

4. Monitor Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is one of the most controllable risk factors for stroke. Therefore, stroke patients should make sure to monitor their blood pressure by having a blood pressure machine at home to use.

Additionally, it is very important to take any medications doctors recommend. If you take blood pressure medication, be sure not to miss a dose and always pick up your next month’s supply before your current bottle runs out. That way, you won’t have to miss any doses between bottles. Skipping doses of blood pressure medication is very dangerous and increases your likelihood of having a stroke.

It’s also important to make dietary changes to help lower your blood pressure. One easy change you can make is to cut down on your salt intake.

However, while too much salt has been linked to stroke, recent research shows that low sodium intake can also increase a person’s risk of stroke.

While this does not mean you can now eat as much salt as you want, it does mean that moderation is key. Be sure to read labels of canned/pre-packaged food, as these often are very high in sodium.

5. Follow a Mediterranean Diet

plate full of healthy mediterranean food to improve second stroke survival chances

A Mediterranean diet, which is generally low in cholesterol, can reduce your risk of a second stroke by 21 percent.

The main components of a Mediterranean diet include:

  • Lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Olive oil
  • Fish and poultry
  • Beans
  • Red wine

Most of these foods are also clinically proven to boost stroke recovery, which makes a Mediterranean diet even more beneficial for stroke patients.

Mediterranean diets also discourage certain foods such as dairy products and red meat.

Understanding Second Stroke Survival and Prevention

Second strokes are serious medical emergencies, and the risk of recurrent stroke increases greatly after a single stroke. All of this makes second stroke prevention a crucial part of recovery.

By exercising, managing your post-stroke anxiety, and following a healthy diet, you can dramatically reduce your chances of experiencing a second stroke. These methods can also help make your recovery a success.   

Keep It Going: Download Our Stroke Recovery Ebook for Free

stroke recovery tips ebooks with fanned pages (1)

Get our free stroke recovery ebook by signing up below! It contains 15 tips every stroke survivor and caregiver must know. You’ll also receive our weekly Monday newsletter that contains 5 articles on stroke recovery. We will never sell your email address, and we never spam. That we promise.

Discover Award-Winning Neurorehab Tools

ebook with the title "full body exercises for stroke patients"

Do you have these 25 pages of rehab exercises?

Get a free copy of our ebook Full Body Exercises for Stroke Patients. Click here to get instant access.

You're on a Roll: Read More Popular Recovery Articles

You’re Really on a Roll! See how Jerry is regaining movement with FitMi home therapy

My husband is getting better and better!

“My name is Monica Davis but the person who is using the FitMi is my husband, Jerry. I first came across FitMi on Facebook. I pondered it for nearly a year. In that time, he had PT, OT and Speech therapy, as well as vision therapy.

I got a little more serious about ordering the FitMi when that all ended 7 months after his stroke. I wish I hadn’t waited to order it. He enjoys it and it is quite a workout!

He loves it when he levels up and gets WOO HOOs! It is a wonderful product! His stroke has affected his left side. Quick medical attention, therapy and FitMi have helped him tremendously!”

Monica & Jerry’s FitMi review

What are these “WOO HOOs” about?

FitMi is like your own personal therapist encouraging you to accomplish the high repetition of exercise needed to improve.

When you beat your high score or unlock a new exercise, FitMi provides a little “woo hoo!” as auditory feedback. It’s oddly satisfying and helps motivate you to keep up the great work.

In Jerry’s photo below, you can see him with the FitMi pucks below his feet for one of the leg exercises:

FitMi is beloved by survivors and used in America’s top rehab clinics

Many therapists recommend using FitMi at home between outpatient therapy visits and they are amazed by how much faster patients improve when using it.

It’s no surprise why over 14,000 OTs voted for FitMi as “Best of Show” at the annual AOTA conference; and why the #1 rehabilitation hospital in America, Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, uses FitMi with their patients.

This award-winning home therapy device is the perfect way to continue recovery from home. Read more stories and reviews by clicking the button below: