Feeling Numbness? It Could be A Stroke- Beware! | Max Healthcare
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Feeling Numbness? It Could be A Stroke- Beware!

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Feeling Numbness? It Could be A Stroke- Beware!

Dr Manoj Khanal
Neurology, Neurosciences
Neurology, Neurosciences

A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) has symptoms similar to that of a stroke. TIA occurs when an artery in the brain gets clogged, and reopens on its own without causing any permanent damage to the brain. Some people may also call it as a mini-stroke.  Do not be ignorant if there is:

  • Weakness or numbness of the hand, tongue, cheek, face, arm, or leg
  • Trouble speaking normally
  • Blurred vision i.e. difficulty in seeing clearly with one or both eyes

These symptoms may completely vanish within 24 hours (whilst with the stroke where the symptoms are usually more permanent). 

Note: Immediate intervention can reduce your chances of having brain attack. There is enough evidence to support that less than 10% of stroke patients are given medicines within three hours before the symptoms begin. You may be at an increased risk of developing recurrent stroke, hence it is important to initiate the treatment quickly. After TIA, atleast 42% are likely to have stroke within 48 hours of occurrence and 4-10% within 48 hours.

An Easy Way to Remember Signs of Stroke

Just remember the word “FAST”. Each letter stands for the sign you should watch out for:

Face - Does the person’s face look uneven or drooping on one side?
Arm - Does the person have weakness or numbness in one or both arms? Or is one arm drifting down if the person is trying to hold both arms out?
Speech - Is the person having trouble speaking? Does his or her speech is unclear?
Time - If you notice any of these stroke signs, even if they go away. You need to act FAST. The sooner treatment begins, the better the chances of recovery.

Next Step After Stroke?

A basic initial evaluation may include blood tests, scanning of brain and its blood vessels as well as evaluation of heart. The doctor might exclude other neurological diseases that may mimic stroke.The patient is also subjected to imaging of brain like CT, MRI, MRA (magnetic resonance angiography, CTA (computed tomography angiography), CDUS (carotid duplex ultrasonography), and TCD (transcranial Doppler ultrasonography) to look for presence of major blockage in the affected territory. However, patients having symptoms like irregular heart rhythm, poor cardiac function or those without clear etiology are subjected to echocardiography and prolonged hotler (heart rhythm) monitoring.

How serious can be TIA?

TIA does not cause any permanent damage to the brain. However, it indicates that you may be at a higher risk of forming blood clots in the blood vessels or heart. In that case, there is a higher probability that a large blood clot may cause a stroke or heart attack in the future.  

1 out of 10 people who have had a TIA can also have a stroke, which is significantly higher than the average risk of someone who has had a stroke. The risky period is the first month, so it is advisable to have a treatment plan devised by the doctor. Also, it is observed that within a year of having a TIA, about 3 in 100 people have a heart attack (myocardial infarction) due to the formation of blood clot. A research study published in 2007 concludes that “Early initiation of existing treatments after TIA or minor stroke was associated with 80% reduction in the risk of early recurrent stroke”.

Any Specific Diet to Follow?

The treatment plan includes optimum treatment of hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, and smoking cessation. It is important to:

  • Consume a diet “Rich” in fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy products and “Low” in salts, meats, sweets, refined grains (such as white rice or white bread).
  • Do atleast 30 minutes of exercise on most days of week and try to lose weight (if overweight).
  • Undergo a surgery to reopen clogged arteries in the neck.  

Proactively, taking a step ahead and managing your lifestyle can prevent you from the risk of having a stroke.