Study Shows Patients Fail to Get Immediate Treatment for Stroke Symptoms

Deanne Stein Health Guide
  • The last couple of weeks have been crazy. I had the opportunity to cover a story I've never covered in my 10 years of reporting television news .... the shooting of a Hollywood movie. Warner Bros. is making the film "We Are Marshall." It's based on the true story that occurred here in Huntington, West Virginia back in 1970. In November of that year, a plane crashed at our local airport. All 75 people on board died, including many of the Marshall University football team and coaching staff, who were just returning home from a game at East Carolina. It was a tragedy that shook this small community and is still felt even today.
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    So needless to say, it's been an exciting an overwhelming few weeks, interviewing celebrities like Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox, and watching how it all comes together behind the scenes. I was especially honored when I was cast as an extra in one scene.

    If all these busy workdays aren't enough, I also just returned from a spring vacation in Florida, only to be faced with the task of moving into a new home this week. However, I know my life isn't that different from other people who hold down demanding jobs and have families. In fact, after reading about a recent study on mini-strokes, it reminded me just how easy it is to get caught up in all the aspects of our lives, and in turn, not always take care of ourselves.

    The British study I read about was reported in a recent issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. It found that less than half of the people with symptoms of a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, took action and got help. In fact, only 10 percent went to the emergency room.

    A TIA occurs when blood flow is temporarily blocked from an area of the brain thus causing stroke symptoms. Researchers found that having a mini-stroke greatly increases the odds of having an actual stroke later.

    Sometimes that stroke doesn’t occur for days, weeks or even months later. Of the 241 people studied, many did recognize they were having stroke symptoms, but still chose not to get help. Of those who didn’t recognize the symptoms, they simply thought they were due to stress, fatigue or a migraine.

    This is exactly what I thought. About a month before my stroke, I had a mini-stroke, but I didn’t realize it until months later. During my mini-stroke, the symptoms were similar to those I had during my massive stroke. I felt tired and my right arm was feeling numb and nearly useless.

    I had just returned from a vacation at the lake, where I had done a lot of water skiing. So, I just figured I overdid it and then forgot about it. The next day, I was fine and the symptoms were gone. I often wonder if I could have prevented my stroke, had I just listened to my body through the signs of my mini-stroke.

    I feel this study’s findings shows how much we need to better educate people about the symptoms and the seriousness of TIA. The bottom line is to listen to your body, no matter how busy you are in life.
  • http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3038586
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Published On: June 08, 2006