Stroke: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions related to stroke.

Q: Can a stroke just happen out of the blue?

A: A stroke, which also is referred to as a “brain attack,” often does happen without any prior warning. However, the conditions that lead to a stroke have usually been present for many years. Maintaining the healthiest lifestyle possible, therefore, is very important in stroke prevention.

Q: My father suffered a stroke three months ago but insists he is capable of driving. Should I worry?

A: A stroke can affect eyesight, coordination, the movement and strength of arms and legs, balance, reaction time, concentration, speed of thought, memory, awareness of where objects are in relation to each other, and even the awareness that anything is wrong at all. A difficulty in any one of these areas carries with it the possibility of making driving unsafe. Your father’s doctor can provide the best advice on whether he should be driving.

Q: Ever since his stroke, my husband has been reluctant to have sex, even though he seems to have made a full recovery. Is this normal?

A: There are many myths about having sex after a heart attack or stroke. The most common one is that sexual activity will bring on another heart attack or stroke and cause sudden death. This simply isn’t true. There’s no reason why someone who has had a heart attack or stroke can’t resume usual sexual activity as soon as he or she feels ready to do so. For some men, fear about performance can greatly reduce sexual interest and ability to have an erection. An understanding partner, patience, and open discussion with a doctor or therapist are extremely helpful in resuming sexual intercourse.

Q: At what age should I seriously consider taking aspirin to help reduce my risk of having a stroke?

A: The need for aspirin therapy depends on individual risk factors and is different for everybody. Most health care providers suggest that after age 50, you and your doctor should make a decision about aspirin therapy. Some people benefit from taking aspirin before age 50.

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