A new study suggests that people who take aspirin after experiencing a mini-stroke have a significantly lower risk of experiencing a major stroke than people who don’t take aspirin.
A mini-stroke is also called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), and people who experience them are 1,000 times more likely to experience a major stroke than people who didn’t have a mini-stroke.
After analyzing data from 56,000 people, the researchers found that taking aspirin immediately after a mini-stroke decreased the risk of a subsequent major stroke by 70 percent.
The study was led by Peter Rothwell, a stroke expert at the University of Oxford. Rothwell said that his research team discovered that immediately treating a minor stroke can decrease both the risk and the severity of a future major stroke.
These findings are significant mainly due to the lack of knowledge about mini-strokes. Rothwell said that most public health campaigns that seek to educate people about stroke risk only focus on major strokes. Because of these campaigns, people are more likely to get medical help after a major stroke, but are far less likely to seek treatment after having a mini-stroke.
Some people don’t seek help at all after a stroke or mini-stroke, or they delay seeing a doctor for several days. Delaying or never getting treatment dramatically increases a person’s risk of experiencing another stroke.
Based on the results, Rothwell suggests that doctors immediately provide aspirin to mini-stroke patients rather than waiting for further tests or evaluations.
Aspirin is also a helpful option for people who cannot immediately access medical care. If they can at least take aspirin, they can improve their chances of making a healthy recovery.
The study suggests taking one 300 milligram dose of aspirin after experiencing mini-stroke symptoms, even if the symptoms seem to be improving.
Mini-strokes and major strokes share many of the same symptoms, including:
- Numbness or weakness in the muscles, particularly on one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty understanding speech
- Double vision
- Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
Mini-stroke symptoms generally last only a few minutes, but could last as long as 24 hours. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical care and take aspirin if available.