Once a patient has suffered a stroke the focus can tend towards rehabilitation and recovery but it’s just as important to prevent recurrent strokes.
Stroke victims chances of having another are greatly increased, especially with mini-strokes or TIAs. In the US around 24% of women and 42% of men will have a recurrent stroke within five years according to the National Stroke Association.
What are Recurrent Strokes?
The most common recurrent strokes are mini-strokes or TIAs. These are very brief periods when a patient may suffer some of the most common stroke symptoms that last from just a few minutes to around 24 hours at the most. Whilst TIAs don’t usually case any lasting damage they do act as a warning to the patient and if left untreated, can result in a major stroke.
TIA stands for transient ischaemic attack and is a temporary disruption of the blood supply to the brain which results in a lack of oxygen. This in turn leads to stroke symptoms which can completely disappear within a matter of minutes.
What Causes Recurrent Strokes?
If someone suffers an acute stroke then they are at risk of having another without prompt treatment. The causes of recurrent strokes are much the same as with any other stroke and only by identifying the cause for the initial stroke can your doctor determine the treatment to prevent any subsequent strokes. Those most at risk of full recurrent strokes are patients who fail to get treatment, do not make the lifestyle changes necessary, or who neglect to take the prescribed medicine.
TIAs can be caused by narrow arteries, blood clots or more uncommonly, a small amount of bleeding in the brain. As TIAs are so short-lived, many patients are tempted to forgo treatment but failing to get treatment for mini-strokes can lead to other complications. Up to a third of all patients who suffer from a TIA can later expect to suffer an acute stroke.
The greatest risk of a recurrent stroke is just after the first stroke. The danger decreases with time.
Health Implications of Recurrent Strokes
A recurrent acute stroke is a major contributor to serious stroke disabilities and may even cause death. This risk increases with every stroke that is suffered.
Some of the effects of a stroke may include:
- Cognitive (learning and thinking) problems
- Speech difficulties
- Emotional issues
Survivors of recurrent strokes can often find their mobility greatly compromised and may need extra care and resources in the home. Unfortunately if the symptoms are due to recurrent strokes they are more likely to be long-lasting.
Many patients who suffer from recurrent strokes benefit from mobility aids around the home. A stairlift can be fitted to enable them to tackle stairs with ease. The Brooks stairlift trade is one of the original companies and have competitive stairlift prices in the UK. Included with the price of stairlifts is stairlift servicing which will cover any stairlift problems.
Make it clear to your carers what you are able to do yourself and what you need help with. Don’t let them take over doing everything for you, even if this seems quicker and easier. It is important you do as much for yourself as you are able, as this will help you more quickly regain your independence, and can have a positive effect on self-esteem. Speak to your specialist team, or local support group for suggestions of adaptive equipment that you might find useful. There are tools and gadgets available to support most aspects of daily life, and will help you complete takes independently.
Anne is a keen gardener and avid health writer a self-confessed health junkie Ann has worked in long-term primary care for over 12 years.