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Mini Stroke Warning Signs

by Jenn W
(Nama, Idaho, USA)

Mini Stroke Warning Signs?

Mini Stroke Warning Signs?

I'm a 29 year old female who has been diagnosed with complex migraines. That was 6 years ago. I have had tests for stroke on two occasions and they came back normal. They make my left side, mostly from the eye level down, look and I assume feel like I've had a stroke. After some time the symptoms lessen and I can function again.

However, the symptoms never completely go away. I am always left with some numbness and weakness. Kinda like novacaine just before it completely wares off. That has never gone back to normal since the first episode.

I take inderal and topamax. I don't usually get a headache when the episodes happen. I do also get regular, aurora type migraines a couple to 4 times a month. Do you have any thoughts on why the symptoms don't go completely away. I stump my doctor.

Thanks.
Confused in Idaho
Jenn



Answer:

Hi Jenn,

It sounds as if you are having a form of hemiplegic migraine, which can also be called complex migraine. Many times it presents with mini stroke warning signs. You do not mention if anyone else in the family has had this problem..it can be genetic.

You may also have ocular migraine which involves visual symptoms only but no headache.

Topamax and inderal are good choices for your problems. You could consider talking to the doctor about trying verapamil 240mg per day in place of the inderal. You might get a better result. You do not mention if the doctor is a neurologist but I will assume that is who is treating your migraine symptoms.

Finally, keep in mind that the anxiety receptors in the brain are almost chemically identical to the migraine ones..if you have had these problems for years then some low level anxiety could be playing a role. Fluctuating numbness and weakness can occur with anxiety.

Here is more information on anxiety symptoms and there is a copy of the Beck Anxiety Inventory on that page. You can take the test yourself and then discuss it with your physician.

Good luck..
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C


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Mini Stroke Warning Signs

by Kathy

Early Warning Signs of Stroke?

Early Warning Signs of Stroke?

Hi,

I have been having these headaches that sometimes come with a lot of tiredness. Occasionally I feel like my right eye gets blurry too. I am really worried about this, am I having mini strokes?

I don't smoke but I do have high blood pressure. I used to have migraines when I was younger, I am now 54, I haven't had them for many years.

Thanks,

Kathy

Answer:

Hi Kathy,

You do not mention whether or not you have high cholesterol or are overweight. Both of these would also be risk factors for stroke.

You do have a couple of the risk factors, namely a history of migraines and high blood pressure. In addition, a family history of stroke would also be a risk factor.

Many times what people call "mini stroke warning signs" are actually TIA's. This is a transient ischemic attack where the blood vessels in the brain suddenly narrow. It produces the signs and symptoms of a stroke, but is fully reversible. A true stroke leaves some sort of deficit. If severe a person may be left with weakness on one side of the body. A mild stroke may only cause changes that can be seen on an MRI of the brain. Therefore you may be having the early warning signs of stroke.

None the less, you need to see your doctor. Mini stroke warning signs need to be taken seriously. If you are indeed having TIA's, they usually are the precursor for a true stroke. I would recommend you ask the doctor about getting an MRI as this would be more specific than a CT of the brain to find small stroke.

One last thing to consider in someone over the age of 50 with a new onset of headaches is temporal arteritis. This inflammation of the temporal artery can cause a one sided headache, blurry vision and sometimes jaw pain. If serious it can lead to a stroke but treatment is simple with a course of steroids.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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