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Prevent Future Strokes with TIA Education
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15th Oct, 2009 | Source : National Stroke Association


By Taryn Fort

Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is an event often thought of as a mini-stroke. TIA symptoms are often the same symptoms of a stroke, such as paralysis or trouble speaking, but typically last less than 24 hours before disappearing. TIA is a major indicator of stroke risk, which makes it a big educational focus at National Stroke Association. In fact, TIA education should be important for everyone in the U.S. – about 40 percent of people who experience a TIA will go on to have a stroke.

Why is that fact so important? Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability America. To put it in perspective, two times more women die from stroke than breast cancer each year. Learning to recognize and respond to a TIA by immediately seeking help by calling 911 or visiting a doctor may prevent a future stroke. Most studies show that nearly half of all strokes occur within the first 2 days after a TIA. In fact:

  • Within 2 days after a TIA, 5 percent of people will have a stroke.
  • Within 3 months after a TIA, 10 to 15 percent of people will have a stroke.

Causes

TIAs are usually caused by the same things that can cause a stroke, such as blockages in the blood vessels carrying blood throughout the body. When a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked for a short period of time, the blood flow to that area of the brain slows or stops. This lack of blood (and oxygen) often leads to temporary symptoms such as slurred speech or blurry vision.

Symptom and Response Education

By educating yourself and loved ones about how to recognize stroke and TIA symptoms and response, you’re taking the first step to prevention. Following are stroke and TIA symptoms to watch out for:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Act F.A.S.T.

FACE

Ask the person to smile.

Does one side of the face droop?

ARMS

Ask the person to raise both arms.

Does one arm drift downward?

SPEECH

Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.

Are the words slurred? Can he/she repeat the sentence correctly?

TIME

If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important.

Call 911 or get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.

For more information about TIA and how to talk to your doctor about TIA, visit www.stroke.org/TIA. The goal of TIA management is preventing a future stroke. Your doctor can help determine your stroke risk and outline a plan for adopting a healthy lifestyle that can help prevent TIA and stroke.

Stroke strikes FAST. You should too. Call 911 if you recognize stroke or TIA symptoms in anyone.

 

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