About one in three American adults experienced a symptom consistent with a warning or “mini” stroke, but almost none – 3 percent – took the recommended action, according to a new survey from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA).
Thirty-five percent of respondents reported having experienced at least one sign of a warning stroke, called a transient ischemic attack or TIA. Those who did were more likely to wait, rest or take medicine than call 911, said the AHA/ASA, the nation’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
The survey was conducted as part of the American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke™ warning signs campaign sponsored by Medtronic. Participants included 2,040 adults nationwide.
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The difference between a TIA and a stroke is that the blockage is transient, or temporary. A TIA has the same symptoms, but usually lasts a few minutes and up to 24 hours. The American Stroke Association recommends calling for emergency help immediately, even if symptoms go away.
“Ignoring any stroke sign could be a deadly mistake,” said Mitch Elkind, M.D., chair of the American Stroke Association. “Only a formal medical diagnosis with brain imaging can determine whether you’re having a TIA or a stroke. If you or someone you know experiences a stroke warning sign that comes on suddenly — whether it goes away or not –call 911 right away to improve chances of an accurate diagnosis, treatment and recovery.”