NHS doctors and nurses across Lancashire have joined forces to raise awareness of mini-strokes, which are also known as transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs).
One in ten people who experience a mini-stroke may go on to have a full stroke within a week of the symptoms of a mini-stroke.
The campaign focuses on the real life stories of patients who have suffered a mini-stroke and didn’t realise what it was nor what to do. NHS staff conducted interviews with patients throughout Cumbria and Lancashire, who had suffered a mini-stroke, and lived to tell the tale.
The study found that patients thought that the symptoms of the mini-stroke were out of the ordinary, ‘funny dos’ that came on suddenly and usually lasted only for a short time. Very few patients were worried about their experience and very few sought urgent medical attention. Most patients simply carried on with their lives without realising that they were ignoring the warning signs of a stroke.
Dr Mark O’Donnell, consultant stroke physician, based at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and the Cardiac and Stroke Networks clinical lead for stroke said: “Symptoms of mini-strokes come on very suddenly and usually last only for a short time. Most people pass them off as a funny turn or a one-off event and don’t seek medical attention. The trouble is that a mini-stroke – or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) can be a warning sign of a stroke. “Most people know what to do if they think they are having a stroke and most people have seen the fast campaign for strokes. But we see many patients across Cumbria and Lancashire, who had a stroke and when we go back over their past history it is clear that they had a mini-stroke or two beforehand and didn’t think to see their doctor.
“If you think you are having a mini-stroke you should get urgent medical help, and you will receive medical treatment which may well prevent a full stroke in the future.”
Dr O’Donnell added: “With this new campaign we hope to raise awareness of mini-strokes without worrying people unnecessarily. If you think you may have had a mini-stroke you should seek medical attention”.
Symptoms of mini-strokes come on very suddenly and usually last for a short time.
If the symptoms continue, or last longer than 20 minutes, you may be having a stroke and should dial 999 for an ambulance fast.
Have you had an experience that you could share to raise awareness? Get in touch with Rebecca Cohen by e-mailing Rebecca.Cohen@jpress.co.uk or ringing 01257 264911.