Top Warning Signs and Symptoms of TIA and Stroke

Dr. Amir

People suffer mini strokes without realizing the situation, and Transient Ischemic Attacks often indicate that major strokes will develop soon. Recognizing the symptoms and risks proves critical because strokes need treatment within three hours to minimize damage to health. Physicians can find out why mini strokes occurred, so patients can make changes in their lives to reduce the risks of experiencing major strokes.

Treat TIA Symptoms Like Full Strokes

Mini strokes occur due to partial blockages of blood vessels, but the clots dissolve within short times. These warning strokes occur rapidly and often last only one minute or longer. Recognizing the danger helps to find the underlying causes of blood clots, and more than 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Stroke symptoms include weakness, confusion, trouble speaking and losses of vision. The F.A.S.T. acronym can help people remember the identifying signs of TIA or stroke.

  • Facial muscles droop.
  • Arm weakness manifests.
  • Speech becomes slurred or difficult.
  • Time becomes critical, so call 9-1-1 immediately.

The difference between the effects of major and minor strokes depends on how quickly the clots dissolve. All clots will eventually dissolve if the patients live, but the degree of damage is determined by how long blood flow remains blocked. People never know how long an episode will last, so seeking immediate medical attention becomes critical.

Consequences, Treatments and Prevention of Stroke and TIA

The effects of strokes vary among victims, depending on which areas of the brain lose their blood supply, how long the blockage lasts and how extensive an area loses blood. The brain's left and right hemispheres control the neurological activities of the opposite side of the body, so left brain damage of the left brain affects the right side of the body.

  1. Right brain damage includes possible paralysis of the left side, language and speech problems, memory loss and slowing of response times and behavioral style.
  2. Left brain damage causes right-side-of-the-body paralysis, problems with vision, memory loss and changes in behavior that make victims speed up and become inquisitive and querulous.
  3. The brain stem affects both sides of the body, and blockages of blood to the stem could cause total paralysis, leaving patients unable to speak or move below the neck.

Treatments focus on dissolving clots rapidly and dealing with any trauma that cuts off blood flow. Clot-busting drugs include blood-thinners such as heparin, clopidogrel, warfarin and even aspirin. Intravenous injections of tissue plasma activators might prove necessary. Sometime, physicians insert catheters into stroke victim's brains to inject TPAs directly to the clots or mechanically remove clots.

Other treatment and prevention options include surgery to open arteries, closing hemorrhages that reduce blood flow, lowering blood pressure, repairing damaged blood vessels, and removing fatty deposits from carotid arteries along each side of the neck.

After immediate treatment, surgeons might need to remove pooled blood from the brain. Healing from strokes follows a similar process to healing from bruises. The tissue needs to absorb excess blood, and bed rest and monitoring help to reduce the risks of experiencing spontaneous aneurysms or ruptures of blood vessels in the brain.

Recovery and rehabilitation require regaining strength, minimizing consequences and learning to manage any speech, language, swallowing, breathing, balancing or seeing disorders. Physicians recommend therapies, medications, and rehabilitation as outpatients, nursing-facility residents, hospital rehab residents or home-care individuals.

Identifying Strokes in Children and Impaired Patients

Caregivers, including people who supervise children, should understand that strokes occur in 10 percent of children with sickle-cell anemia. Children who have high cerebral arterial flows also have higher risks of having strokes. Elderly patients with dementia or Alzheimer's often can't communicate their discomfort, but observant caregivers can note the classic symptoms of strokes or TIA episodes.

  • Making rapid blinking or unusual facial expressions
  • Vocalizing such as moaning, breathing heavily or calling for help
  • Exhibiting tense body posture or pacing activity
  • Displaying confusion and irritability
  • Changing normal activity patterns

Recovering from Stroke Depends on Getting Quick Treatment

Strokes and TIA episodes could have devastating consequences for health, quality of life and independence. About one-third of people who experience a TIA episode have a full stroke within a year, so patients can reduce their risks by recognizing the warning signs, seeking immediate medical attention when they occur, and making lifestyle changes that include cutting down on alcohol, sugar and junk food intake, smoking and other risky behaviors. Children, elderly people, TIA victims, Alzheimer's patients and people with other health conditions might not notice stroke symptoms, but the F.A.S.T. procedure could help to identify the signs that strokes have occurred. Getting treatment immediately could prevent a stroke from developing, limit physical damage and prevent recurring episodes.

Resources for Further Reading:

http://www.webmd.com/stroke/recognizing-and-dealing-with-depression-after-a-stroke
http://www.hearthealthywomen.org/signs-symptoms/featured/stroke-signs.html
http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/TIA/TIA-Transient-Ischemic-Attack_UCM_310942_Article.jsp
http://www.webmd.com/stroke/tc/transient-ischemic-attack-tia-topic-overview
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001743/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke/DS00150/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

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