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Strokes are caused by blood supply to part of the brain being cut off. This is often due to either a blood clot or a blood vessel bursting. Either way, the sooner someone receives medical attention after a stroke the better chance of survival they have.
Many of us are aware of three common signs that appear when someone is having a stroke, remembered by the first part of the FAST acronym: facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties.
If these occur you must call 999 immediately.
However, research, published in Neurology journal, suggested that 23 percent of ischemic stroke (caused by a blood clot) patients will experience symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), or “mini” stroke, in the week before having a “major” stroke.
Of these, 17 percent of patients experienced TIA symptoms on the same day as a stroke.
Cardiac Screen, an independent medical clinic in London, explains: “The signs of a stroke often appear suddenly, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have time to act.
“Some people will experience symptoms such as headache, numbness or tingling several days before they have a serious stroke.
“If you take note of these symptoms and seek help even if they go away, then your chances of a good recovery are much better.
“Don’t ignore the early warning signs. You aren’t overreacting if there’s a chance you’ve had a TIA.
“Get help right away as a more serious stroke could be hours or days away.”
One symptom of a TIA that could appear before a major stroke is vertigo.
This is a condition that feels like you or everything around you is spinning and can affect your balance.
“It’s more than just feeling dizzy,” the NHS says.
An attack of vertigo can last a few seconds or hours, and in extreme cases can last days.
If it keeps coming back or is accompanied by other TIA symptoms you should see a GP.
Other symptoms of a TIA that could hit before a stroke include:
The Neurology study was based on data from more than 2,400 stroke patients.
It said: “Of 2,416 patients who had presented with an ischemic stroke, 549 (23 percent) gave a history of a preceding TIA.
“Where a preceding TIA had occurred, the timing was highly consistent across the studies, with 17 percent occurring on the day of the stroke, nine percent on the previous day, and 43 percent at some point during the seven days prior to the stroke.
“No clinical characteristics or vascular risk factors identified patients in whom there was a close temporal association between TIA and stroke.”
It added: “In patients presenting with ischemic stroke, TIAs occur most often during the hours and days immediately preceding the stroke.”
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