Stroke is a serious condition, sometimes leading to permanent disability. Often referred to as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, a minor stroke rarely results in permanent damage. It is usually diagnosed as stroke-like symptoms that last for less than 24 hours. Recovery from a minor stroke often occurs in a short amount of time. Most people who suffer minor strokes recover most or all prior abilities.
Most strokes result in weakness or immobility on one side of the body and trouble moving, talking and thinking. One or more of these symptoms might be possible with a minor stroke, but the likelihood of prolonged or permanent disability decreases as the seriousness of the stroke decreases. At the low end of the spectrum, the TIA, or mini-stroke, is not actually classified as a stroke. Although it usually has the same immediate symptoms, a mini stroke lasts only a few hours to a day and does not lead to permanent brain damage. Instead, the results of the attack fade after the attack ceases. A TIA is considered the body’s warning signal that a more serious stroke is possible. The necessary treatment for a TIA is usually designed to ensure that a more serious stroke does not occur in the future.
Stroke recovery involves four phases. The first phase is immediate hospital treatment, designed to keep patients alive and prevent a subsequent stroke. Treatment also focuses on dealing with other medical problems. Drug treatment, for example, works to thin blood clots that might have resulted in stroke. Some treatment involves changing habits, including tackling obesity and cigarette-smoking. Both increase the risk for stroke. Spontaneous recovery is the body’s own method of healing. In minor strokes, any abilities lost during the attack begin to come back after treatment through the body’s ability for spontaneous recovery. Rehabilitation is the third level of recovery. Active rehabilitation often involves both physical and psychological retraining. TIAs do not require the extensive rehabilitation more common among those who suffer serious strokes. The final phase of stroke recovery is a return to a normal lifestyle.
Suffering a stroke significantly increases the chance that you will have a more serious stroke in the future. This also holds true for a TMG, often referred to as a “mini-stroke.” Simply because you have recovered does not mean you are in the clear. If you have had a stroke in the past, you should make regular doctor visits and follow post-episode treatment advice. Steps taken to prevent another stroke often include addressing high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, heavy alcohol use and drug abuse. Through medicine and lifestyle changes, individuals can improve their outlooks.