Understanding the Mini-stroke

October 26, 2011

When people use the term "mini-stroke," what they're really referring to what is called a 'transient ischemic attack'  — a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain. The symptoms are similar to those of a stroke, but a mini-stroke doesn't destroy brain cells or cause permanent disability. However, mini-strokes may recur and do increase the risk of a subsequent stroke. It's important to know the symptoms:
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes, including double vision.
  • Dizziness, clumsiness and weakness.
  • Speech problems, including slurring.
  • Inability to walk, known as ataxia.
  • Sudden amnesia and/or loss of consciousness.
Two major studies discovered treating patients quickly for mini-strokes could dramatically cut their risk of a major stroke. Researchers studied nearly 100,000 people with vascular disease. They found those patients treated within 24 hours of having a mini-stroke cut their chances of having a more serious stroke in the next few months by 80 percent! New medical treatments are available to help reduce the impact of a stroke, provided a victim gets medical attention within three hours of the first onset of symptoms and experts are now recommending that health care providers to respond to victims more quickly. A 2005 American Heart Association study found that among all adults 20 and older, 6.5 million had a history of stroke. An estimated 2.6 million were men, with 3.9 million women. Know the symptoms, and if they occur, see your doctor immediately!

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