Who will treat me if I'm at risk for stroke?

If your primary care physician is working with you to lower your risk of stroke, he or she is likely to recommend lifestyle changes to reduce your risk. A range of professionals can help you monitor your health and assist you in making these lifestyle changes:

Primary Care Physician

A primary care physician is a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) who is trained to evaluate a patient for overall health and to treat illnesses. In order to diagnose health problems, a primary care physician may request tests or refer a patient to a specialist. Once a patient is under the care of a specialist for diagnosis and treatment, the primary care physician continues to serve as the coordinator for the patient's care team.

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants are licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Physician assistants provide care by performing exams and some types of procedures, taking medical histories, ordering diagnostic tests and treatments, making diagnoses, prescribing medications and making referrals to other specialists.

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses (RNs) who have completed advanced education and training in diagnosing and managing common health concerns, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Nurse practitioners collaborate with physicians and other health professionals and can refer you to specialists.


A dietician is a health care professional who can help guide you in eating a heart-healthy diet. Dieticians are trained to evaluate your diet and suggest changes in your eating that may help reduce your cholesterol level, lower blood pressure, and manage diabetes, if you have it.

Smoking Cessation Team

If you smoke and want help quitting, your primary care doctor may suggest you work with a smoking cessation team. Members of the team will work with you to determine the best ways for you to manage cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms and understand what situations trigger your desire to smoke.

Diabetes Educators

If you have diabetes, your primary care physician may refer you to a diabetes educator. Diabetes educators are trained to help patients understand diabetes and what they need to do to manage it.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.