Mini strokes should not be taken lightly because they are warning signs.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, drawing attention to the leading cause of death in the United States. Mini strokes, known medically as a transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), are often warning signs of an actual stroke.
Some of the common symptoms are:
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the face or extremities, especially on one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking or mental confusion
- Blurred vision, or difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes
- Dizziness or loss of coordination
- Severe and unexpected headache
A mini stroke is defined as stroke symptoms lasting less than 24 hours. When TIAs occur, there is no permanent brain damage. However, TIAs are a serious warning. According to the National Stroke Association, 40 percent of people who suffer a mini stroke will later have an actual stroke. In fact, studies show that 10 to 15 percent of TIA sufferers will have an actual stroke within three months of the initial TIA occurrence.
The causes of mini strokes include:
- Low flow in a major artery due to a narrow area in the artery
- A blood clot traveling to the brain
- Smaller blood vessels in the brain narrowing and blocking blood flow for a short period of time
Treatment for TIAs vary and depend on the how the TIA originated. TIA management could include clot-busting medication or surgery to open narrowed arteries. Like stroke, prevention of TIAs starts with lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and not smoking.
Since you may not be able to tell if someone is having TIA or a stroke, you should always act quickly when the symptoms are exhibited. Call 911 and get to an emergency room immediately. To learn more about your risk for stroke, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® line at 1-888-741-5120 for a physician referral.