What to expect after a mini stroke
Learn what to expect after a mini-stroke.
What to Expect After a Mini-stroke
It is not uncommon for people to experience a mini-stroke without even realizing it. This happens when there are issues with blood vessels in the brain, which can cause temporary stroke-like symptoms that resolve on their own within 24 hours. If you or a loved one has experienced a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke, you may be wondering, what’s next? After reading this article, you Will be better prepared to handle life after a mini-stroke
How Do You Feel After a Mini-Stroke? ?
A mini-stroke may be hard to recognize and diagnose because of its mild nature and symptoms that resolve on their own. Most people who have a mini-stroke feel fine after the event. In fact, many people don't even realize they've had one! Symptoms might include weakness, numbness, tingling, vision changes or difficulty speaking. Most symptoms are temporary and dissipate within minutes but sometimes can last up to 24 hours.
What to Expect at the Hospital
Typically, when you arrive at the emergency department (ED) the doctor will complete a thorough history and exam to determine how to proceed and assess whether you need to be admitted to the hospital for monitoring. The doctor takes into account such things as age, family history, your blood pressure, how long the TIA lasted, symptoms experienced, physical exam findings, and your risk factors (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, previous mini-stroke or strokes.). Additionally, your doctor can order further screening tests such as an EKG, blood tests, and imaging of your head.
From the screening and testing listed above, if it is determined that you are at a high risk for experiencing another TIA or stroke, you will be admitted for further treatment and evaluation in the hospital. Treatment might include medicines to help prevent blood clotting, blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol controlling medications, as well as continued close monitoring. If not done in the ED, an MRI to look at your brain and echocardiogram to look at your heart will be completed. A neurologist would also likely see you in the hospital to give further recommendations.
How Do Doctors Treat a Mini Stroke?
Ultimately, there is no specific treatment for mini-strokes. Rather, the focus is on preventing future strokes. According to the American Stroke Association, one in three people go on to have a stroke in the next year after a mini-stroke, and between 7-40% of people who have a clot that causes a stroke had a mini-stroke first. If needed, a doctor may prescribe aspirin, as well as blood pressure and cholesterol medications. If you are diabetic, the doctor will focus on getting your blood sugar under control. Most importantly, since you are at a higher risk of experiencing another TIA or stroke, they will advise you on the best way to monitor your overall health and symptoms.
Additional preventative measures include properly managing any current health conditions and adjusting your lifestyle as needed (exercise, weight loss, stopping smoking, good nutrition, etc.).
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Mini-Stroke?
The prognosis for those who have experienced a mini-stroke varies depending on the severity of their stroke and what caused it. Most people make a full recovery. However, if you are experiencing any long-term symptoms, there might be additional work up necessary. The definition of a mini-stroke is that symptoms resolve within 24 hours, however if there are long term effects, you may have suffered an actual stroke and may require physical therapy or occupational therapy to regain normal daily function.
Can You Live a Normal Life After a Mini-Stroke?
For the majority of people, the answer is yes! A mini stroke does not cause any long-term damage or problems. However, a mini-stroke is a warning that further mini-strokes or strokes may occur if changes are not made. It's important to listen to your doctor and follow their advice for monitoring your health and symptoms. This will help ensure that you make a full and speedy recovery and keep you healthy in the future.
What to Do After a Mini-Stroke
After a mini-stroke, the most important thing is to talk to your doctor about your concerns and try to lead a healthy lifestyle. If any medications have been prescribed, it’s important to take them as directed. Your doctor will monitor your health and symptoms over time in order to properly diagnose any medical issues you are having and work on preventing future strokes. Additionally, be sure that if it happens again or you experience other stroke symptoms (such as numbness/weakness on one side of the body), to seek medical attention immediately. You may also want to consider preventative systems such as the technology Zeit Medical is developing.