life expectancy after mini stroke
Health

Life expectancy after mini stroke: Everything you need to know

3 min read |

It’s normal to have questions about life expectancy after mini stroke.

It is a worrying event that must be treated as a medical emergency, even though the symptoms are transient.

After the risk of major stroke increases significantly, which can have more direct implications on recovery and life expectancy.

This article will cover questions around life expectancy after mini stroke and other things to expect during recovery.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • A transient ischaemic attack or mini stroke is a type of stroke that causes similar symptoms at a lesser intensity. 
  • While symptoms are temporary, a mini stroke is a medical emergency and must be treated as such. 
  • The life expectancy after mini stroke is a concern due to the increased risk of full blown ischemic stroke.
  • There are a number of conditions such as hypertension and irregular heartbeat that can increase the risk of a mini stroke.
What is a mini stroke

What is a mini stroke?

A mini stroke is otherwise known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). 

It is a sudden onset and temporary event which can last for a few minutes, or hours, at most. 

It occurs when the brain is temporarily deprived of oxygen due to a clot of blood obstructing the blood vessel. 

Despite the reference to ‘mini’, TIAs are serious and must be properly treated to improve life expectancy after mini stroke.

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How does a mini stroke differ from a stroke?

A mini stroke, or transient ischaemic attack, is when the brain is temporarily deprived of oxygen. 

Any symptoms are transient or temporary, however follow-up treatment and support is still needed. 

During a full ischaemic stroke oxygen is cut off from the brain for long enough to cause permanent damage. 

This brain damage can lead to lasting cognitive, emotional and physical impairment, as well as death. 

What to expect after a TIA

In theory, there should be no long lasting symptoms in the aftermath of a TIA, as it is, by definition, a transient event. 

For example, nothing that drastically or directly reduces quality of life or life expectancy after a mini stroke.

However, many people report symptoms after experiencing a mini stroke, and these can be both physical and emotional. 

They should only be temporary symptoms, so keep an eye on them and contact your doctor if worried.

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What are the physical symptoms of a mini stroke?

The physical symptoms of a TIA are the same as a full stroke – so it’s essential to get diagnosed. 

If someone is having a mini stroke, they need immediate medical attention. 

Act FAST, do not waste time, call 999. 

Symptoms can come on suddenly and include:

  • Face drooping or weakness 
  • Numbness or tingling in an arm 
  • Blurred vision or loss of sight 
  • Memory loss, confusion and dizziness
  • A sudden fall
  • Severe headache
risk of mini stroke

Risk of stroke

The main risk that reduces life expectancy after mini stroke is the subsequent risk of a full blown ischemic stroke.

Research into the condition shows the following statistics about the increased risk of stroke after TIA.

  • The risk of stroke after a TIA is between 2% and 17% within the following 90 days. 
  • After a TIA one in five will have a subsequent stroke, a heart attack or die within one year.

Emotional impact

Having a TIA is an alarming, traumatic event for most people and many go on to develop worries about their health. 

Namely, people who have experienced a TIA may struggle with anxiety, as they worry about life expectancy after mini stroke.

This can cause individuals stress as they come to terms with their diagnosis and adhere to stroke risk reduction plans.

Unsurprisingly, this can cause changes to overall mood, including low mood or depression while coming to terms with their diagnosis.

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Changes to cognition

Some people report symptoms related to thinking and cognition following a mini stroke. 

Cognitive symptoms can include memory loss, attention difficulties and information processing. 

This can be a worrying symptom to experience, as it conjures fears of cognitive conditions such as rapid onset dementia.

What is the life expectancy after a mini stroke or TIA?

After a mini stroke, the risk of having a full stroke increases, especially within the period after initial symptoms. 

The subsequent increased risk of stroke is the main threat to the life expectancy after mini stroke. 

For this reason it is absolutely essential to seek medical support at the time of the mini stroke. 

As well as follow the prescribed treatment plan which could include medications and stroke risk factor reduction.

Which health conditions are related to stroke and TIA

Which health conditions are related to stroke and TIA?

If something is contributing to a TIA it could also reduce life expectancy after mini stroke or lead to a full stroke. 

This is why it’s crucial to manage your health and be aware of related symptoms or risks. 

If you are diagnosed with one of these conditions, it’s important to follow your prescribed treatment plan. 

High blood pressure

High blood pressure can increase your risk of different types of stroke. 

It can cause:

  • Blood clots which travel to the brain
  • Damage to the tiny blood vessels in the brain 
  • Increased risk of bleeding on the brain 

You can manage your high blood pressure through lifestyle changes as well as medications to reduce your risk of stroke.

What is the life expectancy after a mini stroke or TIA

High cholesterol levels

High cholesterol means that fatty plaque builds up in the arteries, including those that supply oxygen to the brain. 

This can greatly increase your risk of stroke or TIA. 

Managing cholesterol levels can be done by making healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising more. 

It also includes cutting down on alcohol and smoking.

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that is characterised by having an irregular heartbeat. 

This makes it a risk factor for mini strokes as the irregular beating disrupts regular blood flow away from the heart. 

Subsequently, blood can pool in the heart, forming clots which then get pumped to the brain, disrupting oxygen supply.

Antiarrhythmic medicines can be prescribed to control the heart rate as well as anticoagulants to stop blood clotting. 

Diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes may be at a higher risk of having a mini stroke, due to increased blood sugar levels. 

This is because high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels supplying oxygen to the brain. 

Diabetes can also be linked with high cholesterol, so it’s important to follow a diabetes treatment plan to reduce stroke risk. 

Find out more about the early signs of diabetes and what causes diabetes in our health guides.

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Stroke risk factor management tips

Reducing the risk of stroke and improving life expectancy after mini stroke can be done through managing lifestyle factors. 

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Stopping smoking 
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Doing regular exercise

Ensure that you are taking any prescribed medicines or attending appointments to help you recover from a mini stroke. 

It may be practical to use a dosette box or pill dispenser box to organise and take medications safely.

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Worried about coping with new care needs?

If your loved one has had a sudden health event, they may need more care at home to help them live independently. 

Provide updated details about their health and care needs to Sweet Pea and get matched with the best local care. 

Whether it’s help at home or personal care, our trusted care providers can help you to navigate new care needs. 

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