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Mini-strokes too often ignored

3rd April 2006

Many people are putting themselves at risk by ignoring the symptoms of a mini-stroke, according to a new report.

A study by neurologists at Oxford University, published in the American Heart Association's journal, Stroke, found that over half the people it studied ignored the symptoms of a mini-stroke.

Furthermore, only one in ten people sought immediate medical attention.

The symptoms of strokes or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), which can include numbness, dizziness and confusion, are often not recognised as being particular cause for worry, leading patients to leave themselves open to far more serious events in the future.

Lead author Dr Matthew Giles says he is concerned that many people who do not realise the episode is an emergency will not contact their doctor at all.

"If you have a TIA on the weekend, you'll say, 'I'll get in touch with the family doctor on Monday.' But by Monday everything is settled down, and you don't do it," he said.

Dr Giles added that immediate treatment on a TIA could potentially save that person's life.