35% of Americans Adults May Have Had a Warning Stroke
There appears to be a hesitancy in taking action, which is concerning as a warning stroke increases the likeliness of having a stroke within 90 days.
According to a survey conducted by the American Stroke Association, 35% of respondents reported symptoms of a warning or "mini" stroke (transient ischemic attack or TIA). Alarmingly, only 3% took any appropriate action and 97% chose to wait instead of calling for an emergency. The ASA recommends calling 911 at the first warning sign of a stroke. This decision improves the chance of successful treatment and recovery of the patient. Nationwide, 2040 adults participated in the survey promoted by the American Stroke Association's campaign "Together to End Stroke".
Five Million Americans Diagnosed with TIA
There are differences between a transient ischemic attack (TIA) and a stroke. A TIA is a temporary blockage with the same symptoms of a stroke and can last for a few minutes to as long as 24 hours. According to chairmen of the ASA doctor Mitch Elkind, only a brain scan can determine whether a patient had a TIA or stroke. Just waiting for the symptoms to go away could be a deadly mistake.
Five million Americans (2.3%) have been diagnosed with TIA, but researchers suspect that number could be much higher due to the fact that so many people with TIA symptoms are failing to call for emergency assistance. Only 15 percent of strokes are attributed to TIA. However, people who experience a TIA episode are at significantly higher risk of developing a stroke within 90 days.
The patient has options if the diagnosis is positive for a clot in the brain. These include blood thinning drugs or medical devices such as a stent retriever to avert any long term disability. Patient and doctor must work together through a prevention plan tailor-made for the patient. The plan may include the need to mitigate risk factors through medication and lifestyle changes.
Warning Signs of a Stroke
The American Stroke Association has created an acronym called F-A-S-T (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911) which makes it easy to recognize the warning signs of a stroke. Learn to recognize these other warning signs:
- trouble understanding or speaking
- sudden confusion
- numb or weak on one side (arm, leg or face)
- vision difficulty in one or both eyes
- trouble walking or loss of balance
- sudden severe headache
Most common symptoms of a transient ischemic attack (TIA):
- sudden severe headache was the most common symptom reported
- sudden dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance was the second the most common symptom reported
Other interesting findings from the study worth noting here:
- 5% of people most likely to call 911 experienced dizziness, loss of balance, trouble walking, numb or weak in face, arm or leg
- 55% of people said they would call an emergency but only 3% actually call 911
- 77% had not even heard of TIA.