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Watch For These Ministroke Symptoms In The Elderly

June 23, 2020

Ministroke symptoms in the elderly are a very dangerous sign. Stroke is a leading cause of disability and death in the United States. It is a condition that affects the arteries that are within or connected to your brain. If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, you’re at an increased risk.

Stroke results from the blockage or bursting of a blood vessel that transports oxygen and nutrients to your brain. Stroke prevents blood flow to the brain, and when that happens, your brain can’t get the oxygenated blood it needs to function properly, and therefore, causes it to deteriorate.

Ministrokes are different but just as dangerous, so let’s look at ministroke symptoms in the elderly that you should be aware of.

Types of Strokes

Stroke can come in three different forms, namely, ischemic, hemorrhagic and transient ischemic.

The most common type of stroke is ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot that obstructs a blood vessel leading to your brain.

Ischemic strokes can be treated two ways — with medication or with a minimally invasive procedure called a thrombectomy.

TPA is a clot-dissolving drug that is injected into a vein in the arm to treat both small- and large-vessel clots. But it must be given within 4 hours and 30 minutes of stroke onset and only provides a good outcome of about 30% of the time.

If thrombectomy is performed, the blood clots are removed using a catheter that is threaded up from a blood vessel in the leg into the brain. The clot can be trapped in a stent retriever and pulled out or directly sucked out using an aspiration device.

The transient ischemic attack, or TIA, is a milder version of ischemic stroke, and it results from a temporary clot.

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that serves the brain is ruptured.

Treatment of hemorrhagic stroke can include:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reversing certain blood-thinning drugs
  • Providing ICU and surgical management as needed.

In most cases, it is not possible to reverse bleeding effectively, although there are some exceptions. Research on this topic is ongoing.

What Are Ministrokes?

Consider a ministroke to be a warning sign.

Although the symptoms are very similar to that of a stroke, the symptoms go away within 24 hours, and in most cases, they last an hour or less. Sometimes, the symptoms can fade in as little as one minute. Unlike a regular stroke, it will not lead to permanent disabilities or cause any actual brain damage.

Ministroke Symptoms

Mini-strokes are almost always a warning sign that an elderly person is at risk of having a major stroke.

In fact, about 1 in every 3 people who have a ministroke will have a stroke later on. The risk of a stroke is actually highest within the first 48 hours following a transient ischemic attack.

Symptoms of a ministroke may include one or more of the following:

  • Weakness or numbness in your arms and/or legs, usually on one side of the body
  • Slurring of words (difficulty speaking)
  • Dizziness
  • Vision changes
  • Tingling (paresthesias)
  • Abnormal taste and/or smells
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance

The effects of stroke vary from one person to another, and they are determined by the location of the blocked arteries and the amount of brain tissue affected.

Stroke can occur on the right or left side of your brain, and it will cause neurological complications on the opposite side of your body. If it affects the right side of your brain, you may experience paralysis on the left side of your body, memory loss, vision problems, and quick and inquisitive behavioral style. If it occurs on the left side, possible effects include paralysis on the right side of your body, memory loss, speech and language problems, and slow and cautious behavioral style.

A stroke can also affect your brain stem, and it may cause complications on both sides of your body, leave you unable to speak or possibly paralyzed from the neck down.

Although stroke and heart disease do not affect the same part of your body, they share many similar risk factors. If you are suffering from heart disease, there is a higher chance that you will develop a stroke. Understanding the signs and symptoms of stroke will hopefully cause you to act fast.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of stroke, you should call 911 immediately. Before it gets to that, you can take preventative measures like having your heart checked because what is good for your heart is good for the brain.

Check out our guide: “Cardiology Tests That Are Keeping Hearts Healthy.” You’ll learn about one test that can tell you if you’re at risk of having a heart attack in the next 10 years.

How to tell if you'll have a heart attack