Warning stroke: what is it and what symptoms to look out for?

Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, with nearly 800,000 people experiencing it each year. On average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds in the country.

These numbers are shocking and frightening, especially for people who have a family history of stroke or who have risk factors like high blood pressure and certain heart conditions.

But you can arm yourself with the knowledge to recognize the symptoms of a stroke, understand the risk factors, and ultimately help protect yourself from having one.

According to Dr. Brandon Giglio, director of vascular neurology at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, approximately 85% of strokes in the United States are Ischemic strokes, which means they are caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain. About 15% are hemorrhagic strokes, which occur when a blood vessel ruptures in the brain.

And among stroke victims, many also experience what is called a warning stroke in the days, weeks, or months leading up to it.

Here’s what you need to know about warning shots:

Warning strokes are known medically as transient ischemic attacks.

Unbeknownst to most people outside of the medical field, warning strokes are a transient but very dangerous medical condition that can be precursors to strokes in their own right.

In fact, up to 1 in 5 people who have a warning stroke could have a stroke within 90 days if they don’t receive medical attention, according to Dr. Ahmed Itrat, stroke medical director at the Cleveland Clinic. AkronGeneral.

So what is a warning shot? Medically, it is called a transient ischemic attack and causes “sudden transient symptoms of neurological damage that resolve on their own,” Itrat said. “These symptoms may look like what you might think of as a stroke, but the only difference is that they don’t lead to permanent neurological damage.”

In other words, transient ischemic attacks happen quickly, last a short time, and don’t lead to the kind of brain damage seen with full-blown strokes.

But the absence of potential brain damage doesn’t mean you should ignore a transient ischemic attack. It’s still a medical condition that should be taken seriously, Giglio said. “IIt really is a warning sign in many people for someone who is going to have a stroke even within the next 48 hours and certainly within the next seven, 30 or 90 days,” he said.

Transient ischemic attacks are also commonly called “mini-strokes”. But Dr Joshua Willey, an expert in stroke neurology at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, said the problematic term downplayed the emergent nature of the disease. The phrase “warning stroke,” on the other hand, emphasizes that this condition is an emergency, just like a “regular” stroke, he said.

The signs of transient ischemic attacks and strokes are the same.

“I would say that basically all of the same signs and symptoms of a stroke are the signs and symptoms of a transient ischemic attack,” Giglio said.

The three experts who spoke to HuffPost called “BE FAST” a widely accepted mnemonic device detailing the signs of stroke. And as the acronym suggests, these symptoms come on quickly, Giglio said.

  • Bbalance — changes in balance or loss of balance.
  • Eouvision – changes in vision, such as blurring, loss of sight, or double vision.
  • Fdrooping of the acial – drooping of the face or irregular smile.
  • Arm — arm weakness on one side of the body.
  • Speech – changes in speech, such as slurred words or gibberish.
  • Jime — it’s time to call the emergency services. According to Willey, the “t” can also represent the terrible headache that comes on quickly.

“YYou could have all of these symptoms, you could have any of these symptoms or any mix in between,” Giglio said. So don’t wait for more than a sign. If you notice any of these problems, go to the emergency room.

Kinga Krzeminska via Getty Images

Conditions such as high blood pressure put you at increased risk not only for stroke, but also for warning strokes.

The symptoms are transient.

According to the three experts, many people are unaware of the signs of a transient ischemic attack because of how quickly they disappear.

But it’s important to take these symptoms seriously, no matter how brief. And while there’s no hard and fast rule as to exactly how long they persist, there are some general guidelines.

“As a rule of thumb, we’ve come to recognize that transient ischemic attacks probably last no more than 5 minutes. [or] 10 minutes and definitely under an hour,” Willey said. He added that the warning shots could only last 30 to 60 seconds.

That means you don’t have to minimize a minute of arm pain or blurry vision.

“Although by definition transient ischemic attacks are transient, when a person has symptoms there is no way to predict whether it will resolve down the road or whether the symptoms will persist and lead to disability. “, Itrat said.

You should call for help if you experience symptoms.

As soon as you notice any signs, you should call emergency medical services rather than waiting for the symptoms to go away because they may not go away.

If someone has any of these signs and it came on suddenly, I would advise them to go to the nearest emergency room,” Giglio said.

Willey added that once there, you should escalate your situation and let the medical staff know you think you had a stroke. In other words, don’t beat around the bush and ignore your symptoms. A warning shot is an emergency and should be treated as such. Communicating effectively with nurses and doctors will let them know that you need to be treated quickly.

Additionally, Willey said if you don’t feel comfortable going to the ER, you should see your doctor or cardiologist as soon as possible. And that doesn’t mean in a week; it means, really, as soon as possible. It is important to remember that many people who have a transient ischemic attack will have a stroke within 48 hours. It is therefore not ideal to wait a certain time.

You can reduce your risk.

Conditions such as high cholesterol and uncontrolled diabetes put you at increased risk of stroke, according to Itrat.

It’s important to talk to your doctor if you have any of these conditions and make sure you manage them effectively. That could mean making changes to your lifestyle, Giglio added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you may need to increase your physical activity, quit smoking, change your diet, or take medication for conditions such as high blood pressure.

If you find yourself experiencing any of the relevant symptoms, it’s important not to ignore them.

“There is an urgent need for the public to understand the signs and symptoms of stroke and what to do about it,” Willey said. Unfortunately, he added, many people wait too long to seek treatment for strokes and warning strokes.

Strokes are very common in the United States, so make sure you understand the symptoms and alert a medical professional immediately if you or someone close to you suffers a transient ischemic attack.

The Huffington Gt

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