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Mini-Strokes Receive Major Attention

Knowing the signs, symptoms and treatment options for a transient ischemic attack.

Everyone is unique— his or her experiences, interests, family, and attitude. The one commonality we all share is the engine of our body. Even then there are different types of reactions. A stroke is a perfect example. Various types of strokes effect survivors in different ways.

About 300,000 Americans each year have a “mini stroke,” or transient ischemic attack (TIA). According to researcher studies the average age is 72. However, TIA can happen at any age. Mini strokes involve a brief lapse of blood flow through the brain causing the lack of oxygen. Symptoms are sudden and can last for several minutes or up to twenty-four hours. Fortunately, they usually do not cause permanent damage.

Symptoms include:

  • Inability to move one side of your body
  • Numbness on one side
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble walking
  • Nausea
  • Flu like feelings
  • Inability to speak or think clearly

They may pass quickly, but you must  call 911 for a complete evaluation. This may include at CT scan, MIR and a neurological exam.

Making the diagnosis

Doctors can have a difficult time diagnosing a mini stroke because the symptoms may start to dissipate before the patient receives medical attention. In some cases people do not even go to the doctor or hospital, believing it is just a bug or the flu. Researchers strongly recommend that you seek medical attention immediately for testing such as a brain scan and ultrasound to check for bleeding or swelling of the brain. People who do not seek medical help immediately are putting themselves at a higher risk for a major stroke, whereas immediate medical treatment could prevent such an occurrence.

After the stroke

After a mini stroke, a 90 day follow-up is necessary to evaluate any residual effects. The good news is that only a small population of people who suffer a mini strokes have disabling strokes. According to several studies approximately 80% of patients who suffered a mini stroke only a small portion, less than 12%, experienced a stroke. In another study findings indicated of five hundred mini stroke patients only 15% had minor disabilities. Most researchers strongly recommend patients should reduce their risk by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, quit smoking and maintain a healthy weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising.

Watch this video: Stroke Prevention & TIA

By: Carol M. Maloney, Stroke survivor, former teacher, and adolescent literacy specialist.

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"Mini strokes involve a brief lapse of blood flow through the brain causing the lack of oxygen. Symptoms are sudden and can last for several minutes or up to twenty-four hours."

What is a Mini Stroke?

A transient ischemic attack, or mini stroke, is caused by a brief lack of oxygen to the brain, generating symptoms similar to a stroke. It is a warning and an opportunity to take preventative steps to avoid a major stroke.
What are the signs?

  • Sudden weakness, numbness or paralysis in your face, arm or leg usually on one side of your body.
  • Slurred of garbled speech or difficulty understanding others
  • Sudden blindness in one or both eyes or double vision
  • Unexplained dizziness or problems with balance or coordination
  • Problems with movement or walking
  • Severe headaches with no cause

What medical attention should you seek?

  • Immediately call 911
  • Seek immediate medical attention, even if the symptoms are subsiding, for evaluation and identification of any treatable conditions.

What are the linger effects?

  • Usually there are no permanent effects.

What recovery methods are typical?

  • Treatment for TIA and mini stroke include aspirin or blood thinners or if necessary surgery to clear blocked arteries, in addition to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
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