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Reducing the risk of atrial fibrillation-related stroke

"AF patients have a three- to four-fold higher risk of having a stroke but this risk can be reduced with medications that thin the blood and prevent the formation of blood clots in the heart," say doctors from the ​​​ Department of Neurology​, National Neuroscience Institute​, a member of the SingHealth group.

Reducing stroke risk in AF patients is an individualised process. The doctor will consider the patient’s risk profile and suitability for medications before advising on treatment. Stroke risk can further be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Regular exercise, a healthy diet, maintaining an optimal weight and not smoking can also lower an AF patient’s risk of having a stroke.

Although stroke risk can be reduced in a patient with AF, the risk is never completely eliminated. It is therefore important for these patients and their caregivers to be aware of the symptoms of a stroke so that treatment that can save brain cells is provided in the critical first few hours. Timely intervention can lower the risk of permanent disability.

How to recorgnise common stroke symptoms

The common stroke symptoms are:

  • drooping of one side of the face
  • weakness of an arm and/ or leg
  • difficulty speaking

You can easily remember these using the acronym FAST which stands for F- face, A- arm, S- speech, and T- time.

If you experience any of these symptoms, please call 995 immediately and go to the Emergency Department at once.

See previous page to learn about the risk factors of atrial fibrillation​ (AF).

Ref: P16