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Saturday, December 15, 2007

AARP Article - Mini-strokes May Occur Before a Big Stroke

An article at the AARP about strokes by Linda Greider is titled "Avoiding the Big One." It is subtitled "Someone dies every 3.5 minutes from a stroke. 80% of 'brain attacks' are preventable. A mini-stroke could be the prelude to a full-blown stroke." The article tells the story of a woman who dozed off, and realized when she awakened that her legs weren't working right. Ten minutes later the symtpoms were gone and she did nothing about it, like most people. But, later medical tests showed she had suffered a "TIA," a transient ischemic attack, also known as a "mini-stroke," which can be a warning that a major stroke may occur next.

Symptoms, according to another article at the AARP, can include "dizziness, confusion, difficulty speaking, numberness or weakness on one side, and a severe headache."

Strokes are the number one cause of adult disability and the third most common cause of death in the United States.

Medical intervention can prevent a major stroke, so it's important to treat a TIA, or mini-stroke, as an emergency. In a mini-stroke someone may have weakness on one side and difficulty speaking. This may last for ten minutes, an hour, or longer.

It's common that when the symptoms go away people decide to take no action, but it's important to get treatment in order to prevent a more serious stroke, possibly within the next week or month.

Caregivers are often the people who first notice that something is not right. You can ask, "Are you OK? What are you feeling? Are you dizzy? Can you see me?" and other questions to find out what is happening and call 911 for emergency medical help.

If you notice someone who can normally walk alone or with a walker is suddenly having more difficulty than usual this can mean a medical professional needs to check the person immediately to find out the cause.

Promp treatment can make the difference between levels of severity, so its important to get immediate medical help. Don't hesitate to call 911 for an ambulance.

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