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Mini-strokeAct early on symptoms of a mini-stroke

HAVE you ever felt sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg which went away within minutes or hours? Generally, most people are unaware of this, but you could have just experienced a mini-stroke.

Mini-stroke, also called "brain attacks", is known medically as transient ischemic attacks (TIA). A mini-stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is temporarily blocked.

Blood supply is very important to the brain as food and oxygen are, carried to the brain cell for normal functioning of the cell. If the blood supply is stopped for a period of time, brain cells subsequently die.

The brain cells are very important to humans because unlike other cells in the body they do not grow again - once they are dead, they are dead.

What happens during a mini-stroke? During this time, brain cells are not getting enough blood supply.

When your brain cells are not functioning properly, you may feel some of these symptoms:

These symptoms can last a few minutes to a few hours. However, it is a medical emergency and you should call your local emergency number immediately.

Even if your symptoms go away, you still need urgent medical attention to find out what was causing these symptoms for you in the first place, and to reduce your risk from the occurrence of a full-blown stroke.

Many people do not worry about a mini-stroke since the person feels normal again within minutes hours. However, these people are missing out on an important warning sign where the symptoms are an indication of circulatory problems in the brain.

In fact, statistics show that one in 10 of these patients develop a stroke as early as one week after a mini-stroke.

As University of California clinical director of a research centre Irvine Dr Steven Cramer, aptly puts it, "[People who have a TIA] have won the stroke lottery. They found out there is something wrong without having to pay the big stroke price."

With stroke, blood supply ceases completely and brain cells start dying unless medical treatment is given immediately. Even though some people survive, statistics show that two-thirds of survivors suffer some form of disability.

Disability occurs because the brain cells controlling certain functions of the body are dead. Disability is a huge consequence to a person as well as their family - people can lose the ability to do what they love most; some even lose the ability to do basic things in life.

There are some risk factors that are unchangeable such as a person's age, family history, ethnicity or their own history of mini-stroke or stroke.

However, together with your doctor, you can try and manage your blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes to be within the recommended levels.

You can also try and maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking, lower your alcohol consumption levels, reduce your stress levels and try to increase physical activities.

All the above risk factor reduction is very important and should be a priority for every person with stroke risk.

You can also protect your brain cells with a neuroprotective agent. Palm tocotrienol is well researched for its neuroprotective functions.

All this helps to minimise brain cell death in the event of a stroke. Every brain cell that can be salvaged during a stroke may make a huge difference in terms of a stroke patient's survival and quality of life.


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