People who suffer a “mini-stroke” need to be concerned about heart disease as well, according to research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. Patients who have these strokes, called transientischemic attacks or TIAs, are at twice the risk of heart attack than the general population, the report said.
What is a TIA?
A TIA occurs when a blood clot temporarily blocks a blood vessel to the brain. A TIA is shorter, usually lasting just a few minutes,
than a stroke, but the symptoms are similar. Although it does not cause long-term disability, a TIA or “warning stroke” signals a
high risk for a larger stroke. The study shows the risk of heart attack highest among TIA
patients under 60; they were 15 times more likely to have a heart attack than non-TIA patients. Th e average length of time between a first TIA and heart attack was five years in the study.
Who is at most risk?
The risk of heart attack after TIA increased among men, older people and those taking cholesterol-lowing medications. Nearly two-thirds of people in the study had high blood pressure, more than half smoked and three-fourths were being treated with medication, such as aspirin, to prevent blood clots. Most heart attacks are caused by coronary-artery disease, which occurs when a clot blocks blood and oxygen fl ow in a vessel
leading to the heart. Coronaryartery disease is the primary cause of death among TIA patients, according to the report. Signs of a TIA and stroke are sudden. They include:
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg
- Difficulty seeing
- Trouble walking because of dizziness or loss of balance
- Severe headache
Free stroke awareness seminar
Neurologists Jacqueline Carter, M.D., and John Grubbs, M.D., and internal medicine physician Danny Butler, M.D., will speak on stroke prevention and care at a luncheon seminar from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, May 19, in the Baptist Heart Center auditorium. Reservations are required at (270) 575-2895.
Chest Pain & Stroke Hotline
If you have questions about heart attack or stroke symptoms, you can talk to a Western Baptist nurse free 24 hours a day on the Chest Pain & Stroke Hotline: 1-800-575-1911.
Send your questions!
Do you have a cardiac question tugging at your heart? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to HeartBeat, 2501 Kentucky Ave., Paducah, KY 42003. If we use it in a future HeartBeat column, you will receive a Western Baptist Hospital door prize.