Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Capsules

Starting small

June 02, 2003|Dianne Partie Lange | Special to The Times

Most Americans are unaware of the signs of a mini-stroke, which dramatically increases the risk of a full-scale stroke, researchers have found, and they may delay seeking treatment as a result.

In a random survey of 10,000 people sponsored by the National Stroke Assn., researchers found that 2.3% had been diagnosed with mini-strokes, or transient ischemic attacks. The number may seem small but, when projected onto the general population, would produce about 4.9 million attacks each year. An additional 3.2% reported symptoms but ignored them.

In a full-fledged ischemic stroke, blood supply to the brain becomes blocked; in a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, blood supply is blocked momentarily. About 11% of people with a TIA have a stroke within 90 days.

"We've been telling people about the signs of strokes but not TIAs. Now we need to tell them they don't have to learn anything new -- the symptoms are the same except they go away," says lead author Dr. S. Claiborne Johnston, director of stroke services at UC San Francisco. "And don't wait until next month's office visit to tell your doctor about it ... go to the emergency room."

As with a stroke, TIA symptoms occur suddenly and include numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side the body; confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; and trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination

This study was published in the May 13 issue of Neurology.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|