TIA could serve as warning before stroke

Published On: Mar 05 2012 01:50:50 PM EST
Updated On: Aug 17 2012 11:50:38 AM EDT
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(NewsUSA) - Many Americans would rather die than experience a stroke, but a stroke isn't always a devastating blow. Today, millions of thriving, happy stroke survivors lead fulfilling lives.

Early detection proves key. Amazingly, one sign of a stroke is a stroke. A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, leaves no permanent disability.

TIAs produce only mild stroke symptoms, so many of the 250,000 to 350,000 Americans who suffer TIAs each year dismiss the experience. But patients should consider TIAs a ringing alarm bell -- more than one-third of the patients who have a TIA will later stroke.

Doctors can determine patient's stroke risk after a TIA. Dr. Clay Johnston of the University of California, San Francisco, worked with the National Stroke Association to develop the ABCD2 tool, which predicts short-term stroke risk within two days of a TIA.

Patients should ask their doctors about the ABCD2 tool, which is available for free download from the National Stroke Association Web site at www.stroke.org/ABCD. With the tool, doctors use five factors -- age, blood pressure, TIA symptoms, TIA duration and diabetes -- to assign their patient a score. The higher the ABCD2 score, the higher a patient's risk for stroking two, seven, 30 or 90 days after a TIA.

TIAs typically last less than 24 hours. If patients experience a TIA, they should seek further medical attention -- early measures can prevent disability or death from stroke.

The symptoms for a TIA and a stroke are the same. If a patient experiences, or a loved one notices, any stroke symptoms, they should immediately call 9-1-1.

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