Your stroke is treated based on its type and severity. The goals are to bring back blood flow, lower harm, and stop this from occurring again. Getting treated right away can lower the amount of harm. If you suspect a stroke, then call for emergency medical services right away. Emergency workers can start treating you before reaching the hospital.

For ischemic stroke, clot-busting medicine can open blood vessels and bring back blood flow to the brain. This can lower or stop harm to the brain. The earlier it is given, the better the results.

  • If care is given within four and a half hours of when stroke signs start, then clot-busting medicine may be given through IV.
  • If care is given within six hours of when stroke signs start, then intra-arterial (IA) clot-busting medicine may be used. IAs are given to the clot through a tube.

These methods are not used for hemorrhagic strokes. They are treated by trying to slow or stop the bleeding.

Once you are stable, you will need rehabilitation. The days and weeks after your stroke may be hard. It will mean working to get back or learn skills that you lost, such as talking, walking, or the use of an arm or leg. It can take days, weeks, or months. It can also last years.

To reach these goals, you will have a health care team that is made up of doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health workers. Stay in touch with your team, stick to your care plan, and go to all appointments.

Treatment involves:

Lifestyle changesMedicationsSurgeryOther treatments—rehabilitation

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review BoardRimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 12/2018 -
  • Update Date: 01/18/2019 -