Monday, 9 May 2011

Are You At Risk For A Silent Stroke or TIA? Three Risk Factors To Be Aware

A transient ischemic attack, or TIA, strikes millions of people each year. Most go unnoticed or are mistaken for something else. They are deadly serious, however, as they are often a precursor to a major stroke.
The deviousness of a TIA is that it usually happens without you realizing it - at least not right away. In fact, it can be so innocuous that many people have referred to it as a silent stroke. Many times, the only symptoms are indirect ones such as a dramatic change in mental functioning. For example, you may suddenly start to forget small things such as where you put your keys, phone numbers that you have been dialing for years, the names of people who you see everyday, and many other such "senior moments."
On the positive side, however, a TIA diagnosis will often lead to you making a long overdue change in eating habits and lifestyle changes that will, ultimately, result in you living a healthier and longer life. And, unlike many who have had a full blown stroke, with no warning, you have been given a second chance at a full life - if you are smart enough to take advantage of it.
Many people have fears of growing older because it is so often associated with loss. You can look forward to loss of hair, diminished eyesight, loss of physical mobility, and more. But, more than almost anything else, is the fear of dementia - of losing yourself. And dementia is what is at risk when you have a TIA.
At one time, it was thought that dementia was an unavoidable result of aging. But as researchers have studied diseases and aging over the years, many have come to the conclusion that a primary trigger for dementia is a stroke - either a silent one or a major incidence.
So, what causes a TIA? According to researchers, there are three main risk factors that increase the odds of your having a TIA.
The first of these is age. As is true with many ailments, as we age, we become more susceptible to a variety of illnesses. Our immune systems break down and our cardiovascular system starts to wear out. Older people, specifically those over fifty years of age, are at greater risk for a silent stroke.
Another group of people who are at risk for TIAs are those with an irregular heart beat. This is often hereditary and people in this group have to be particularly careful of cardiovascular related illnesses in general.
The last big risk factor that often comes into play in individuals who suffer a silent stroke is the presence of high blood pressure or hypertension. Ironically, this is the only factor of the three that you have some control over - and it is the biggest risk factor of the three. And, the sad thing is that most people could prevent this condition if they were to limit their consumption of 'bad' foods and increase the amount of physical activities in which to indulge.

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