This is not how you want to spend Friday night. You have plans to see friends, maybe take in the new spy thriller at the movies. Or, if your wife prevails, the latest romantic comedy...
Then, a bit of dizziness hits. Nothing too serious, but certainly noticeable. And, there's that touch of numbness on your left check and around your left elbow. But, really you feel pretty good. It's been a long, stressful week and a night out is probably just what you need to relieve the stress and get your batteries recharged. Or...
You could be setting yourself up for a major stroke within the week.
Researchers from the University of England report that failing to treat mini-strokes significantly raises the risk of major strokes. Mini-strokes, known as transient ischemic attacks (TIA), should be treated as a medical emergency, say the researchers.
TIAs are small strokes that are self-resolving and cause no permanent damage. Because of this, people may be tempted to forgo medical treatment. But, though you may enjoy the movie and popcorn, consider:
Patients who receive no treatment for TIAs have an 11% risk of having a major stroke within one week. On the flip side, those who seek immediate treatment for a TIA reduce their risk of having a major stroke within a week to only 1%. That's a huge difference, no matter how Oscar-worthy the movie may be...
Watch for these symptoms of a TIA (from the American Heart Association):
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you experience any of these symptoms, make a u-turn and head to the emergency room. The movies will wait - you have your own real-life drama unfolding.To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read more about strokes, see this from the American Stroke Association.