By Mary Elizabeth Dallas
People who have a mini-stroke -- officially called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) -- typically recover from symptoms, such as trouble speaking or paralysis, within minutes. But a trio of neurologists from Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., warn that these seemingly fleeting events are often followed by a more severe stroke.
"The diagnosis of a TIA represents the recognition of a medical emergency and an opportunity to reduce the risk of stroke by decisively evaluating the patient and applying any combination of the currently available therapeutic strategies," the authors wrote in their report.
Most strokes occur when blood clots block blood flow to the brain. Blood clots also cause TIAs, according to the neurologists -- Dr. Camilo Gomez, Dr. Michael Schneck and Dr. Jose Biller.
Within 30 days of having a TIA, however, people have a 5 percent to 10 percent chance of having a more serious stroke, the report noted. And 15 to 20 percent of people who've had a stroke report experiencing a TIA first.
In the United States, more than 200,000 people have a mini-stroke each year. Prompt evaluation and treatment of a TIA could prevent a more devastating and disabling stroke, the neurologists said.
Educating people who've had a TIA about the risk for stroke is also important. "Patients must be counseled about smoking cessation, proper diet (preferably Mediterranean), regular exercise, maintenance of appropriate BMI (body mass index) and limiting alcohol consumption," the team wrote.
The report was published recently on F1000 Research, an online, open research publishing platform.