Stroke Victims Fail to Recognize Symptoms
< Apr. 21, 2010 > -- Many people who've had a minor stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA) don't know it. In fact, less than half of those who had these strokes got medical care within the three-hour time limit for optimal treatment, reports a new study.
In the study, published online in the journal Stroke, British researchers analyzed data from 1,000 patients who had had either a minor stroke or TIA. They found that 68 percent of those who had TIAs and 69 percent who had minor strokes did not know the cause of their symptoms.
TIAs and strokes occur when a blood clot clogs an artery, blocking blood flow to the brain and causing symptoms like difficulty speaking, dizziness, balance problems, and temporary weakness or numbness in arms or legs.
Minor strokes and TIAs, which are sometimes called mini-strokes, often cause no permanent damage. However, timely treatment is still needed, as it can reduce risk of a more severe stroke later.
Only 47 percent of the patients with a TIA and 46 percent of patients with a minor stroke sought medical attention within three hours of symptoms, the time limit by which clot-busting drugs should be given for greatest effectiveness. In addition, 30 percent of patients who'd had a prior stroke didn't seek timely medical attention either.
These findings indicate a lack of public awareness that TIA is a medical emergency and suggest a need for more public education, says study author Arvind Chandratheva, a clinical research fellow at the University of Oxford in Great Britain.
Other study findings include the following:
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Get Emergency Care for Stroke Symptoms
Because treatment can be more effective if given quickly, every minute counts when stroke strikes. People who experience one or more of the following symptoms should call 911 right away, even if symptoms are temporary:
Consult your physician about what you can do to decrease your risk for stroke.
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