Secondary Stroke Prevention Guidelines: What You Can Do to Prevent a Second Stroke

Article by Moody Neuro

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 800,000 people have strokes every year in the U.S. Someone suffers from a stroke in the U.S. every 40 seconds, and stroke fatalities occur every 3.5 minutes.

These are unsettling numbers, and the risks don’t end with the stroke itself. In addition to needing aftercare, stroke survivors face the possibility of a second stroke. Every year, about 185,000 strokes happen in people who have had prior strokes

So, what’s the best way to prevent a second stroke? 

To begin with, people who have suffered a stroke should receive treatment, change their lifestyles and follow preventive practices.


With age, human arteries become hard and narrow, which can lead to blockages. Unhealthy lifestyles and preexisting medical conditions can affect artery health, increasing the risk of stroke. In addition, sedentary lifestyles and poor eating habits are often leading factors in stroke victims. 

These are a few other important risk factors for vascular diseases

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol 
  • Lack of exercise 
  • Obesity 

Avoid these risk factors to help protect yourself from becoming a stroke victim. 


Ischemic strokes, the most common type of stroke, make up 85% of all strokes. A lack of oxygen or poor blood flow to the brain causes ischemic strokes. If not treated properly, ischemic stroke patients can be at risk for another stroke. 

Hemorrhagic strokes make up the other 15% of strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when there is bleeding around the brain. Main causes and risk factors for this type of stroke include high blood pressure and abnormal blood vessels in the brain.

Also known as a mini-stroke, a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is similar to an ischemic stroke. However, a TIA’s symptoms last a shorter period. These attacks are often warning signs for a more serious ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. 


The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) guideline for stroke prevention addresses diagnoses, treatments and secondary stroke prevention. 

Review some of the AHA/ASA guide’s key takeaways below:

  • Pay attention to lifestyle choices, such as diet, physical exercise, blood pressure control and smoking cessation. Doing so can prevent 90% of strokes. 
  • Maintain a good blood pressure, generally under 130/80. 
  • Monitor atrial fibrillation, which is common in ischemic stroke patients. 
  • Watch therapy and glycemic control in diabetic patients. 
  • Undergo antiplatelet treatments, which the AHA/ASA recommends for TIA patients. 

Strokes affect people differently, so it is important to pick a rehabilitation facility that focuses on your physical, social and emotional goals. Due to the high risk of secondary stroke, a rehabilitation facility should also have individuals who will address your risk factors as you are returning to the community. Choosing the best brain injury rehabilitation is critical. Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute has 40 years of experience and specializes in brain injury rehabilitation, which is needed after suffering a stroke.

For more information, see what the CDC says about stroke prevention.


Since 1982, Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute has served Galveston, Texas, and neighboring Gulf Coast communities. With 40 years of experience, we provide quality treatment for a variety of brain injuries, such as strokes and support secondary stroke prevention guidelines. We offer effective home evaluations, in-house training and unique home exercise programs.

For effective treatment, one must understand the fundamentals of the brain. Explore our comprehensive resources to learn more about the body’s most intricate organ — the brain. 

Let the Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute team answer your questions about brain injuries, rehabilitation and other treatments:

Moody Neurorehabilitation programs assist stroke patients in their recovery so they can maintain their independence. We consider cognitive, behavioral and physical limitations while tailoring personalized treatment plans for every patient’s unique needs.

We offer outpatient programs and residential services, as well as short- and long-term care. In 2019, our patient satisfaction survey revealed that 90% of our patients found our quality of therapy outstanding.

Furthermore, Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute provides long-term support to care for patients who are unable to return to an independent lifestyle. 

Learn the latest information regarding Moody Neurorehabilitation’s Program Evaluation Data


Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute incorporates technology and traditional therapy practices to help stroke patients recover quickly and effectively. Based on physician recommendations, we create a rehabilitation program for the patient’s individual recovery needs. 

Our hours are flexible, and we work with patients’ physical capabilities using innovative robotics and technological simulations for optimal outcomes. At Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute, we’re dedicated to supporting families and assisting them throughout the recovery journey. 

For people suffering from strokes, we’re here to help guide patients and their families through the difficult road to recovery. Our experience and personalized care make us the premier choice for neurorehabilitation.

Contact Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute to learn about our programs and quality services, or call us at (409) 762-6661 today for more information. 

Strokes are medical conditions that affect millions globally. In the United States, more than 795,000 people have a stroke each year, with about 610,000 cases being first or new strokes. 

These can lead to a wide range of physical and cognitive impairments. Speech and language disorders are among the most common and most challenging consequences of strokes, occurring in about a third of stroke survivors. 

Understanding Stroke-Induced Speech & Language Disorders

Stroke-induced speech and language disorders significantly impact communication abilities. Among these, aphasia, dysarthria, and apraxia of speech are prevalent. Understanding how they are diagnosed and their specific symptoms can aid in prompt and effective management.


Aphasia is a common outcome of stroke, manifesting as difficulty in speaking, understanding, reading, and writing. There are many different types of aphasia, depending on the affected brain area, and are categorized based on the symptoms present:

  • Expressive Aphasia (Broca’s Aphasia): Characterized by broken speech, limited vocabulary, and difficulty forming complete sentences. Patients often understand what is being said to them but struggle to verbalize responses.
  • Receptive Aphasia (Wernicke’s Aphasia): Patients can produce fluent speech but may lack meaning or include nonsensical words. They often have significant difficulty understanding spoken language.
  • Global Aphasia: A severe form of aphasia where individuals have extensive difficulties with both speech production and comprehension.
  • Anomic Aphasia: Individuals have difficulty finding words, particularly nouns and verbs, making their speech sound vague.


Dysarthria is a speech disorder that affects 20-30% of stroke survivors. It occurs when stroke impacts the muscles responsible for speech, leading to slurred or slow speech that can be hard to understand. It is typically diagnosed through a physical examination and a series of speech evaluations conducted by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). 

It is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Slurred or slow speech that can be difficult to understand
  • Monotone or robotic-sounding speech
  • Difficulty controlling the volume of speech, which may be too loud or too soft
  • Challenges with the rhythm and flow of speech, including rapid speech that’s hard to interrupt or slow, drawn-out speech
  • Respiratory issues affecting the ability to speak loudly or for extended periods

Apraxia of Speech (AOS)

Apraxia of speech is a neurological disorder characterized by difficulty sequencing the movements needed for speech. This is caused by the impact of the stroke on the brain’s pathways involved in producing speech. 

Patients with AOS know what they want to say but struggle to coordinate the muscle movements to articulate words correctly. This results in distorted speech, difficulty initiating speech, or the inability to accurately produce speech sounds or sequences of sounds. 

How Long Is the Stroke Speech & Language Recovery Time?

According to one study on post-stroke speech and language therapy, approximately one-third of stroke patients experience speech problems after a stroke. Many of these individuals begin to recover within a few months, with significant progress typically observed within three to six months.

In another study, 62% of subjects had speech challenges after suffering from a stroke. By six months post-stroke, 74% were able to completely recover their communication abilities. 

However, the figures above provide a general timeline for post-stroke speech and language recovery. Stroke speech recovery time is highly individualized and can vary depending on several factors. These can include the following:

  • Severity of the Stroke: More severe strokes often lead to extensive brain damage, resulting in longer and more challenging recovery periods for speech.
  • Location of the Brain Injury: The brain’s specific regions control different speech and language functions; damage to these areas directly impacts recovery complexity and duration.
  • Age and Overall Health of the Patient: Generally, younger patients with better overall health before the stroke tend to experience faster and more complete recoveries.
  • Pre-existing Conditions and Comorbidities: Conditions such as diabetes or hypertension can slow down recovery by complicating the overall health scenario and rehabilitation process.
  • Individual Variability and Resilience: Personal resilience, the support system’s strength, and the individual’s motivation significantly influence the pace and success of speech recovery efforts.

The first three months after a stroke is a crucial period for recovery, as a majority of stroke patients see the most significant improvement during this period. However, it’s also important to note that, although at a slower pace, recovery can continue well past the 6-month mark with continued therapy and practice. 

This underpins the importance of early intervention and ongoing rehabilitation efforts, including speech therapy, to maximize each patient’s recovery potential. 

What Does the Stroke Speech & Language Recovery Process Look Like?

The journey to regain speech and language after a stroke is multifaceted and varies significantly from one individual to another. Understanding the structured phases of recovery can provide insight into what patients and their families can expect during this challenging time. 

Here’s a closer examination of each phase in the stroke speech recovery process.

Initial Assessment and Diagnosis

Before recovery can begin, a thorough evaluation is conducted by a team of healthcare professionals led by an SLP. This assessment aims to identify the type and severity of the speech and language disorder, be it aphasia, dysarthria, or AOS. The evaluation may include cognitive-linguistic assessments, comprehension tests, speech production analysis, and functional communication measures. 

Based on this assessment, a personalized therapy plan is crafted to address the patient’s specific needs.

Acute Phase

The acute phase typically occurs within the first days to weeks following a stroke. During this period, medical stabilization is the primary focus, with healthcare teams working to manage the immediate effects of the stroke. 

Speech therapy may begin with simple exercises or assessments to gauge the patient’s abilities. However, intensive therapy usually does not start until the patient is medically stable. During the acute phase, the goal is to support overall recovery and prevent complications immediately after the stroke.

Subacute Phase

The subacute phase generally spans from two weeks to three months post-stroke and is characterized by more intensive speech therapy interventions. As the patient’s medical condition stabilizes, the focus shifts to active rehabilitation. Therapy during this phase is tailored to the individual’s specific speech and language deficits and may include:

  • Exercises to improve articulation, fluency, and voice control for those with dysarthria.
  • Language therapy to enhance understanding, speaking, reading, and writing skills in patients with aphasia.
  • Motor speech exercises and strategies to improve speech planning and production in apraxia of speech.

The subacute phase is crucial for taking advantage of the brain’s natural recovery processes and neuroplasticity, where the brain begins reorganizing and adapting to the loss of function.

Chronic Phase

The chronic phase of recovery extends from several months to years after the stroke. It focuses on long-term rehabilitation and adjustment to any residual speech deficits. During this time, patients may continue to see gradual improvements in their speech and language abilities, although the rate of recovery may slow. Therapy in the chronic phase often includes:

  • Advanced communication strategies to cope with ongoing challenges in daily life.
  • Maintenance exercises to preserve and enhance speech gains achieved in earlier phases.
  • Supportive technologies and aids, such as communication devices, to assist in effective communication.
  • Community reintegration activities to help patients return to as normal a life as possible, engaging in social, vocational, or recreational activities.

What Is the Role of Neuroplasticity in Speech & Language Recovery?

Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s fundamental property to change and adapt its responses to new experiences, learning, and environmental changes. This adaptive capacity enables the brain to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections.

When the brain, or a part of the brain, is damaged after a stroke, neuroplasticity is what allows the other parts of the brain to take over the functions of the damaged area. Through targeted rehabilitation and therapy, such as speech therapy for stroke survivors, patients can retrain other brain areas to perform the lost functions and facilitate recovery.

Enhancing Stroke Speech & Language Recovery Time

Adopting a comprehensive approach involving several key strategies is vital to enhance the stroke speech and language recovery time. This multifaceted approach can maximize the chances of regaining speech and communication abilities.

This comprehensive approach must incorporate the following strategies:

  • Early intervention to leverage the brain’s highest potential for neuroplasticity in the initial period following a stroke, significantly improving the chances for recovery.
  • Alternative communication strategies, such as gestures, writing, and visual aids, to help maintain communication during the recovery process. 
  • Adopting technology, including speech-generating devices and software applications designed for speech rehabilitation, for personalized exercises and continuous practice, which is vital for progress.
  • Providing continuous support from psychologists, support groups, and therapy to help manage feelings of frustration, depression, and anxiety, fostering a positive mindset essential for rehabilitation.
  • A healthy diet and lifestyle to supply essential nutrients that support brain function, along with regular physical activity, adequate sleep, and management of medical conditions.

Begin Your Post-Stroke Recovery Journey With Moody Neurorehabilitation

Moody Neurorehabilitation understands the complexities and challenges that come with post-stroke rehabilitation. We are dedicated to supporting patients and their families through this critical time with specialized care and personalized treatment plans.

Since our inception in 1982, Moody Neurorehabilitation has been a leader in brain injury rehabilitation. Our approach centers on providing comprehensive care tailored to each patient’s needs and goals. We believe in treating the whole person, not just the symptoms, to improve overall quality of life.

We invite you to start your recovery journey with us. Contact Moody Neurorehabilitation today to schedule a consultation with our experts. Let us help you navigate the path to recovery with care, compassion, and expertise.