Many people do not realize they can suffer a mini stroke from stress.
What is a Mini Stroke?
A mini stroke, also known as a TIA or Transient Ischemic Attack, is often the predecessor of a full-blown, or true, stroke. Generally, a mini stroke is considered to be a warning sign that the person is at risk for a full stroke. A Transient Ischemic Attack occurs when there is an interruption of the flow of blood to the brain caused by a blocked artery. For some people, a mini stroke may occur months before they suffer a true stroke, for others it occurs much sooner.
During a Transient Ischemic Attack the person experiences stroke-like symptoms which typically last for less than two hours. However, in some cases, mini stroke symptoms may last as long as twenty-four hours.
If you or someone with you is experiencing symptoms of a mini stroke it is imperative that you call 9-1-1 or go immediately to an emergency room. Many times people ignore the signs of a TIA because the symptoms do not last. However, suffering a mini stroke and recognizing it for what it is gives people a chance to make changes in their life and lifestyle to lessen the chance of a full-blown stroke occurring.
Symptoms of a Mini Stroke
In general, depending on the area of the brain that is affected, the symptoms of a mini stroke and a true stroke are the same. However, the symptoms of a mini stroke are temporary and go away on their own but the symptoms of a true stroke are often permanent.
A person may experience one, or any number, of the symptoms during a Transient Ischemic Attack. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a mini stroke can save your life. The following are typical signs and symptoms of a mini stroke:
- Vision problems
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty following a command
- Loss of feeling in part of the body
- Difficulty walking
- Severe headache
- Loss of balance
- Loss of coordination
Mini Stroke from Stress
Stress plays a significant role in increasing your risk of having a mini stroke. When you experience chronic stress over a prolonged period of time it has a major effect on your health. Your body remains in a continual of state of high alert. Under stress, your body has a natural physiological response that affects every system and organ in your body. The following are several of the changes that take place:
- Blood pressure rises
- Heart rate increases
- Respiration increases
- Stress hormones are secreted
When people remain in a state of constant stress they often suffer from high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, placing them at a higher risk of suffering a mini stroke or a full-blown stroke.
Stress Management and Reduction
Learning ways of reducing and managing the stress in your life lessens the effects that stress has on your body resulting in overall better physical and mental health. One popular method of stress reduction is meditation. When you meditate you relax your mind. When the mind is relaxed, stress levels are lowered. There are many different kinds of meditation and you may need to try several before you find the one that is right for you. Several popular types of meditation include:
- Basic meditation
- Mindfulness meditation
- Spiritual meditation
- Focused meditation
- Concentrative meditation
- Transcendental meditation
- Mantra meditation
- Walking meditation
- Empty mind meditation
- Breath watching
Additional methods and techniques of reducing the stress in your life include:
- Deep breathing exercises - This relaxation technique is simple to learn and you can do it almost anywhere at anytime
- Regular exercise - Whether you take a brisk walk, participate in a sport or work out at a gym exercise is a great way to reduce stress
- Guided imagery, visualization or guided relaxation
- Passive muscle relaxation
- Progressive muscle relaxation
Reducing the stress in your daily life generally lowers your risk of experiencing a mini stroke from stress.