A recent survey from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) found that approximately 1 in 3 U.S. adults experiences a symptom that aligns with a warning or “mini” stroke yet only 3 percent took the recommended action.
“Thirty-five percent of respondents reported having experienced at least one sign of a warning stroke, called a transient ischemic attack or TIA,” AHA said in a release. “Those who did were more likely to wait, rest or take medicine than call 911.”
The study involved 2,040 adults and was conducted in conjunction with ASA’s Together to End Stroke warning signs campaign.
The difference between a TIA and a stroke is that the blockage is transient, or temporary, AHA said, and a TIA has the same symptoms while only lasting anywhere from a couple minutes to up to 24 hours. Even if symptoms disappear, ASA recommends patients call for emergency help right away.
“Ignoring any stroke sign could be a deadly mistake,” Mitch Elkind, chair of the American Stroke Association, said in the release. “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.”
“Officially, about 5 million Americans, or 2.3 percent, have had a self-reported, physician-diagnosed TIA, but as this survey suggests, we suspect the true prevalence is higher because many people who experience symptoms consistent with a TIA fail to report it,” Elkind said.