A stroke (also called a “brain attack”) can take three out of five quality years off your life, according to a recent study in the journal Neurology. Considering advances in treatment and ongoing stroke-prevention campaigns, that is pretty alarming.
The study followed 748 stroke patients and 440 who had a mini-stroke (also known as transient ischemic stroke or TIA) for five years. Participants completed questionnaires that measured their quality of life after the neurological event. The results varied, depending on the severity: TIA patients experienced 2.06 fewer quality life years; moderate brain attack, 3.35 fewer quality years; and severe stroke, 4.3 fewer quality years.
This study confirms that brain attacks are very bad for well-being: In the long term, strokes and mini-strokes lead to an increased risk of death or deterioration in quality of life. It appears that there is much more to treatment than clot-busting drugs or technological advances.
The new study has two take-home messages:
- We should continue to intensify efforts to prevent brain attacks in the first place.
- We need to focus more on measures to keep stroke patients alive and improve their quality of life.
Read my post about using the “FAST” technique to recognize symptoms of a brain attack as it happens. Find help for symptoms, causes and conditions at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute’s Stroke Center and get encouragement at one of our support groups.