• over 1 year ago

    TIA/mini-stroke or stroke???

    I am in USA, while my Dad and family reside overseas. Dad is 91, with considerably good health for his age. He became very isolated, inactive, anti-social, and depressed, when started losing his hearing. He refused to wear hearing-aids.

    We did not know what exactly happened, when he fell in the neighborhood. The back of his head bled; he got 3 stitches. As my family described it, he could raise both his arms, but with weak legs. He couldn't raise his left leg but could with the right slightly.

    The doctor said that he had a "mild stroke" (directly and literally translated into English; it might make a difference in translation in actual meaning). Isn't a stroke a stroke, be it ischemic or hemorrhagic; can it be milder or at different degrees? From what I understood, if one has a stroke, wouldn't he be able to raise both arm and leg from the same side?

    I thought my Dad could just have a TIA, because his face did not change and could raise his arms. However, he has been in the hospital for 5 days; his legs are still as weak as the incident just happened. My family does not seem to get all the info from the doctor, so I am just wondering what happened and has happened to my Dad? Can anybody shed some light with me? Thanks

Responses

  • over 1 year ago

    RE: TIA/mini-stroke or stroke???

    Hi there. Thanks for posting.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your father's stroke. It must have been very hard for him to experience, and for you as well.

    To address what you said in your post, "Isn't a stroke, a stroke, be it ischemic or hemorrhagic, can it milder or at different degrees?" It says here ( http://wb.md/2dVL8QT ) to not jump to conclusions about how a stroke will affect someone because "not all strokes are created equal." There are three major kinds, with different warning signs and symptoms. The severity of the stroke and how quickly your father received treatment will determine the severity of his symptoms. You can read more about the different types of strokes at the link above.

    It says here ( http://wb.md/2dVNT4R ) that a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is when blood flow is block or reduced to a certain part of the brain, but after a short time, blood flow resumes and symptoms go away. With a stroke, the blood flow stays blocked and the brain has permanent damage. The article also says that it is sometimes called a "mini-stroke" because the symptoms are similar to those of a stroke but don't last long. Symptoms of a TIA commonly go away in 10 to 20 minutes. To read more information on transient ischemic attacks, then click on the link above.

    Have you considered requesting to speak with his doctors at the hospital? They would be the best people to answer all of your questions and concerns. It's clear how much you care about your father so I think you owe it to yourself to get some definitive answers about how he's doing.

    Please be sure to come back and update us on how you and your father are doing. We're here for you.
  • RE: TIA/mini-stroke or stroke???

    It sounds distressful & not being near him during this time must be difficult for you. Regardless of age, navigating healthcare system is a nightmare. I'm a doctor and its even hard for me to figure out a lot of the complexities of the healthcare system.

    However, the social isolation, inactivity, and depression may be at the root of some of the issues he is facing. A hearing aids will help him, yet they can be costly. Its key to address these tangible areas to help him recover and for the future; find a neighbor, home health aid, or others that can assist in these. Social services can help you navigate this.

    Its not known what caused his fall to begin with, but functional deterioration from his isolation and inactivity could also be at the root . Many elderly that live alone also have nutritional deficiencies, which contribute to some of the difficulties he faces.
    None-the-less he had a fall and received an injury/contusion to his head and furthermore he has had a change potentially due to a stroke.

    First let’s start with some clarity and definitions of these terms. A stroke is a stroke is a stroke. Whether it’s a TIA [brief interruption of blood flow], or a completely block artery, or hemorrhagic ‘stroke’ it will cause similar deficits of mobility, or speech etc.

    A TIA is also a stroke- some call it a mini stroke- but it occurs when blood to the brain is only briefly interrupted. The symptom are similar to a stroke but don’t last as long as in a stroke and they disappear within hours.

    Regardless of the cause of the weakness, the symptoms signal a medical emergency and timing is critical because they are a warning sign; many people that have TIA’s go on to have a stroke and getting immediate medical care helps reduce the changes seen after a stroke. Reducing his risks is also key: reduce his social isolation, increase his level of physical activity and see if he can get physical rehabilitation, ensure a balance nutritious eating plan and avoiding alcohol and tobacco.

    best of luck and prayers to you and your family,
    Dr Bruni