Mini strokes, also called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), are one of the many problems that affect older people. They are incredibly sneaky and could be very dangerous, which is why it’s vital for seniors to have a consistent support system from their loved ones and elder care. Continue reading to learn what mini strokes are, how they affect older people, and why it’s essential to know the signs and get them right away.
What Are Mini Strokes
A TIA or mini stroke is a brief stop in the flow of blood to the brain. TIAs usually only last a few minutes and don’t cause lasting brain damage, which is the main difference between them and a full-blown stroke. But they shouldn’t be taken lightly because they are often signs that a bigger stroke is coming.
How Do Mini Strokes Affect the Older Generation?
With age, the blood vessels tend to get smaller and less flexible. This makes clots or blockages more likely, which can lead to TIAs. This is why the risk of mini strokes is greater in seniors. When TIAs happen, the elder care team and loved ones might see their effects in the following ways:
Small strokes can sometimes have slight and sometimes not-so-subtle effects on cognitive functioning. Memory loss, confusion, trouble solving problems, and trouble focusing are all typical signs that something has happened. These changes in the brain can have an effect on daily life and the quality of life.
TIAs can make the face, arms, or legs weak, numb, or tingly. This can make it hard for older people to do simple things like walk, dress, or eat. It is especially hard if they already have mobility issues.
A mini stroke can cause speech problems, like slurred speech or trouble finding words, which can make it hard for older people to communicate.
It can be hard for older people to deal with the emotional effects of a small stroke, particularly as the fear of a larger stroke increases. Having someone in the home consistently, such as elder care, can help seniors not only process these emotions but also monitor for other changes.
As mentioned, there is a strong link between mini strokes and a higher risk of a full-blown stroke, which may be the most worrisome thing about mini strokes. About one-third of people who have a TIA will have a major stroke within a year if they don’t get the help they need from doctors and control their risk factors.
Pay Attention to the Early Warning Signs
Both older people and their support team need to be aware of the signs of small strokes. Some common signs are:
- Weakness or numbness that happens all of a sudden, especially on one side of the body
- Slurred words or sudden trouble speaking
- One or both eyes have sudden trouble seeing
- Sudden dizziness or loss of balance
- Sudden headaches
If a loved one has any of these signs, it is very important for them to see a doctor right away. Quick evaluation and treatment can reduce the chance of a larger stroke and lessen the effects of a mini stroke.
Changes in lifestyle, like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and learning how to deal with stress, are very important for lowering the risk of strokes, mini or larger.
The elder care team and loved ones can help seniors handle risk factors and live healthier so they can have a better quality of life as they age.