'Whispering stroke' can cause damage

Aug. 10, 2007 at 5:39 PM
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Aug. 10 (UPI) -- People with stroke-like symptoms, but no stroke diagnosis, can incur physical and mental damage that lowers their quality of life, says a U.S. study.

The study of more than 21,000 people found those reporting stroke-like symptoms had functional impairment similar to that of people who had a history of transient ischemic attack, a TIA, also known as a “mini-stroke.”

The study participants answered a questionnaire and 3,404 participants said they had experienced stroke-like symptoms but had no stroke diagnosis, 818 had a history of TIA and 1,491 had a history of stroke.

Study author George Howard of the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that compared to people with no symptoms or history of stroke or TIA, people with stroke-like symptoms had a 5.5-point decrease on a scale of physical functioning and a 2.7-point lower score in mental functioning.

The study, published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, found that 20 percent of people older than age 45 may have vague or "whispering stroke" symptoms that detects damage in people who did not have any apparent stroke symptoms.

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