Mini-Strokes Act as Warning for Seniors & Older Adults

By Pete Lane, 8:00 am on

Many people have heard the statistic that stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, but fewer people are aware of the “mini-stroke” phenomenon. In a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, the blood flow to the brain is interrupted for between one and five minutes, causing less severe but still stroke like symptoms.

According to the National Stroke Association, TIA effects typically last less than 24 hours and do not usually cause permanent brain damage; however, a mini-stroke is a warning that seniors are at very high risk for experiencing a full blown stroke. Today, the Centennial in-home stroke care experts at Home Care Assistance are going to share some of the causes and warning signs of TIAs as well as how to care for a senior following a TIA. Families who learn this information can help to protect their loved one’s health and future quality of life.

Causes of a TIA

Causes of a mini-stroke can include a blood clot in the brain, an injury to the blood vessels, or a narrowed artery that leads to the brain. The biggest risk factor for having a TIA is high blood pressure, as well as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and other cardiac issues.

Symptoms & Warning Signs

Mini-stroke symptoms are identical to stroke symptoms and can include changes in consciousness or in the senses, confusion, memory loss, trouble speaking to others or understanding written or spoken language, loss of muscle control, difficulty standing or walking, incontinence, or tingling or numbness on one side of the body. These symptoms will last several minutes before disappearing; however, your loved one should still go to the hospital even if symptoms are no longer present.

Emergency Information

If your aging parent or loved one experiences any of the above mentioned symptoms, he or she should seek immediate medical attention. His or her doctor will perform diagnostic tests to determine the TIA cause, and may prescribe medications or a procedure to help reduce stroke risk. Depending on the severity of the TIA, additional help from a Centennial hourly caregiver may be needed to assist with certain daily activities such as meal preparation, personal care or transportation.

After Care & Support for Families

Because 40 percent of people who experience TIA will go on to have a stroke according to the American Heart Association, lifestyle changes may also be necessary to help your family member lower his or her risk. A few of those lifestyle changes include eating a diet low in trans-fats, saturated fats and sodium, participating in regular daily exercise, and no smoking or consuming alcohol.

If you have an aging parent or loved one who has recently experienced a mini-stroke and you are concerned about their health and risk for a second episode, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Centennial today. Our highly trained stroke caregivers can assist with daily activities, help ensure that seniors are following doctor recommended activities, and can also act as an extra set of eyes to spot any warning signs of a secondary stroke. To learn more, visit our website at www.centennialhomecareassistance.com or contact a Care Manager directly at 303-957-3100.

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