Women’s health watch: mini-stroke

Margaret Brackett - Contributing Columnist

The symptoms may be short lived, but you should take them every bit as seriously as you would a true stroke.

You may have heard a transient ischemic attack (TIA) referred to by its more common name “mini stroke.” This moniker has led to a lot of confusion about the true nature of a TIA. Because if what the term implies, it is just a tiny stroke, everybody thinks it is just a tiny stoke, the symptoms can be pretty severe, according to Dr. Natalia Rust, assistance professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. In reality a TIA and stroke are essentially the same, a clot or bleed it causes are temporary. Yet the TIA can pave the way for a true stroke. About a third of people who experience a TIA go on to have a major stroke within a year. TIA symptoms also mirror those of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.

Trouble speaking or understanding.

Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes.

Loss of balance or coordination.

When you are in the midst of these symptoms, it is impossible to know whether you are having a TIA or a stroke. So always assume it’s the real thing. If you are having stroke symptoms, you should act on them immediately. Do NOT wait to see if they will go away. Dr Rost says “Don’t delay getting to the hospital, so they can know whether you are having TIA or a stroke.”

She advises Staying active. Do you need vitamins and mineral supplements? New treatments for incontinence? Lose a few pounds to help your heart? Exercises for limited mobility?

Don’t forget to stretch. Stretching is an important part of any exercise. The calves are an important area for older women to stretch and calves can cause you to trip on your toes, Collins says. You can try yoga which both stretches and tones. And don’t forget about balance exercises. Maintaining your balance is especially important for preventing falls. Ask the physical therapist for a stepped up routine and gradually increase the pace and number repartitions as you get strength.

New treatments for incontinence: Incontinence treatment has come a long way and it is worth trying. You have several choices today addressing the different trends. Find out which of the latest therapies are worth trying. Dr. Flesh says, Botox is inserted into the bladder to calm. Botox has been around for more than two decades. And demonstrated very effectively in random controlled trials, Dr. Flesh says. Botox is injected into the bladder to calm overactive muscles. Though it can lead to fewer bathroom trips. Its effects are temporary

After a TIA, your doctor will check all your risk factors for a stroke including blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Take a daily low dose aspirin to prevent more blood clots from forming.

Always treat a TIA as seriously as you would a stroke. Even though the symptoms resolve, there may be damage to the brain so you need to see a neurologist, Dr. Rost advises.

Stay active when it is hard to move.

Warning signs of a stroke: FAST:

One side of your face droops

Raise both arms

Is your speech slurred or strange?

Call 911


Margaret Brackett

Contributing Columnist

Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.

Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.