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Many people believe that strokes occur only in older adults. The reality is that strokes can occur at any age, although your likelihood of having a stroke increases as you age. In fact, studies show that after the age of 55, your risk of developing a stroke doubles every 10 years. About two-thirds of all strokes happen after the age of 65 and they tend to run in some families. Nonetheless, recent studies have found that the number of women who has had a stroke before the age of 45 has increased by 20 to 30% in the past few decades.
Studies indicate that African-American women are more likely to suffer a stroke compared to whites. They are also more likely to suffer from disability and death due to stroke. The reason for this is partly because of their greater tendency to have high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for stroke. Other factors that increase women’s risk for stroke include smoking, diabetes, heart disease, irregular heart beat (atrial fibrillation), a family history of stroke, and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, childbirth or menopause.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Mini-Stroke
A woman who is experiencing symptoms of a mini-stroke may have mild manifestations that she may ignore or doctors may mistake for other conditions. Timely evaluation and proper diagnosis are important to be able to administer appropriate treatment within three hours, the crucial time period when medications such as tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) may be given to prevent permanent brain damage.
To diagnose your condition, a doctor must obtain your complete medical history and conduct a thorough physical examination, including a neurologic evaluation. Further tests may include blood tests, electrocardiogram (EKG) monitoring, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or CT scanning of the head and carotid ultrasound to check for narrowing of blood vessels in the neck.
This may include preventing blood clots from forming, using oral Aspirin or other anti-platelet drugs like clopidogrel bisulfate or Aspirin-dipyridamole. If you have other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or heart disease that may increase your likelihood of developing a stroke, appropriate treatment must be done to control these conditions. If your carotid ultrasound reveals major narrowing of the artery, a vascular surgeon may recommend unclogging the artery through a procedure called carotid endarterectomy.
A mini-stroke may resolve within a few minutes, even before you are able to see a doctor. Although your symptoms may improve, your risk of developing a future stroke within days or much later still exists. It is difficult to predict what might happen, but it is certainly practical to take steps to prevent a future medical event from occurring. It is therefore important for you to consult a doctor even if you are in doubt so that proper diagnosis and preventive measures can be instituted.
Studies show that 10 percent of people who experience TIAs will have a stroke within the next three months. The goal of medical care is to minimize your risk factors to reduce that risk. Research suggests that smoking cessation, controlling blood pressure, and reducing cholesterol levels decreases the risk of future stroke to two percent.
In addition to these, maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet, regular exercise and healthy lifestyle may help reduce your risk for stroke as well as mini-stroke.