Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Stroke Health Center

Font Size

Even Minor Strokes May Take Years Off Life: Study

Prevention is crucial, neurologists agree

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Denise Mann

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Despite life-saving advances in treating strokes, these "brain attacks" can shave years off of a person's life and seriously impair the quality of the years they have left, a new study shows.

The damage is most pronounced after a severe stroke, but even those people who have a so-called mini-stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) are at risk. The new findings appear online in the Oct. 9 issue of the journal Neurology.

Experts stress that preventing strokes by taking control of known risk factors such as high blood pressure remains the best way to improve the outlook for patients. Strokes occur when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked. The National Stroke Association estimates that as many as 80 percent of strokes are preventable.

In the new study, nearly 750 people who had a stroke and about 450 who experienced a TIA were followed for five years. They completed questionnaires about their post-stroke quality of life. Of the full-blown strokes, close to 60 percent were considered minor, 23 percent were moderate and 18 percent were severe.

When compared to members of the general population, a person who has a stroke will, on average, lose 1.71 out of five years of perfect health due to an earlier death. In addition, the stroke will cost them another 1.08 years due to reduced quality of life, the study found.

In total, people who have had strokes lose an average of 2.79 "quality-adjusted life years." This is a measure that quantifies survival and quality of life in the same scale.

And the more severe the stroke, the greater the loss in terms of quality-adjusted life years, the study showed. Older people, women and those who had a second stroke also were at higher risk for worsening quality of life and earlier death after the stroke.

Exactly how strokes affect quality of life varies. They can hamper a person's ability to walk, talk or perform daily activities such as bathing, eating and getting dressed.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

brain illustration stroke
Know these 5 signs.
brain scans
Test your stroke smarts.
woman with migraine
Is there a link?
brain scan
Get the facts.
brain scans
woman with migraine
brain scan
senior man stretching pre workout
Floor level view of therapist helping stroke patie
concerned woman
Lowering Cholesterol Slideshow