Chris Fountain says he couldn't 'read aloud' after mini-stroke
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A stroke is a medical emergency whereby the blood supply to part of your brain gets cut off. The condition deprives your brain of much-needed oxygen and nutrients, leaving your body unable to carry out essential functions. This means that time is of the essence. Fortunately, some symptoms could ring alarm bells even before stroke occurs.
Stroke’s sudden nature means the medical emergencies are often portrayed as unexpected attacks that strike out of nowhere.
While this can be true, strokes sometimes spur on some red flag signs before the actual emergency.
Research, published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, shares that warning signs of an ischaemic stroke can crop up as “early as seven days” before the emergency.
Labelled the most common type, an ischaemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain.
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The study explains that 80 percent of strokes are ischaemic and often preceded by “warning stroke” or mini stroke.
Mini strokes are used to describe a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) – a condition caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to a part of the brain.
TIA presents with symptoms similar to a stroke but it only lasts a few minutes and doesn’t cause brain injury.
One of the warning signs of TIA is sudden ataxia, according to the study.
Ataxia describes poor muscle control that causes clumsy movements. It may cause difficulty with walking and balance.
Other tell-tale signs that can crop up with ataxia include sudden dizziness and loss of balance or coordination.
This warning sign can appear as early as a week before the full-blown medical emergency strikes.
What did the research find?
The study looked at 2,416 people who had suffered from an ischaemic stroke.
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Around 549 people experienced TIAs before the full-blown medical emergency occurred.
In most cases, the first warning signs cropped up in the seven days leading up to the ischaemic stroke.
Study author Peter M. Rothwell said: “We have known for some time that TIAs are often a precursor to a major stroke.
“This study indicates that the timing of a TIA is critical, and the most effective treatments should be initiated within hours of a TIA in order to prevent a major attack.”
How to reduce your risk of a stroke
Leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to lower your likelihood of developing a stroke, the NHS explains.
The health service recommends a low-fat, high-fibre diet that is packed with fruits, vegetables and wholegrains.
You should also keep your salt intake in check, meaning you don’t eat more than six grams of the popular seasoning daily. Too much salt can increase your blood pressure, which is a stepping stone to a stroke.
Other interventions that can help include quitting smoking, cutting down on alcohol and picking up exercise.
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