, , , , ,

Nearly all strokes are reported to be caused by embolisms, (blood clots) and therefore taking an aspirin at the first appearance of stroke like symptoms would dissolve many of those clots before they caused permanent damage. However, there is a serious problem with this solution, because the aspirin will aggravate a bleeding stroke, caused by a burst blood vessel and make it worse. Also, there is the little cousin of a bleeding stroke, the  Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) which most commonly is a tiny leak of a blood vessel into the brain. The problem with these little bleeds is that they are in the brain tissue and they never really heal, but are suppressed, not by new healing brain tissue forming, but by a tiny scab like clot. Taking aspirin for people who have had TIA episodes will commonly bring on a renewed attack of the TIA because it sometimes dissolves the clot. For a person not routinely taking a blood thinner these TIAs are not in themselves terribly serious, but they tend to be precursors of more serious strokes.

The usual stroke prevention web sites don’t offer much help on what to do about strokes when you are actually having one, except to get to the emergency room as quickly as possible. What they do offer is standard good advice on living a healthy life style.

  1. Maintain a good body BMI (Body Mass Index)of about 25
  2. Keep your blood pressure near 110/70 – with drugs in needed
  3. Totally quit smoking, and avoid smoke from others
  4. Keep you cholesterol level below 200
  5. Do routine medical heart exams for atrial fibrillation
  6. Eat fruits and vegetables and avoid sugared beverages
  7. Totally void party drugs like cocaine
What the standard recommendations don’t mention, is that the greatest risk factor, is getting old. Strokes are generally associated with old age, so don’t get old, and especially don’t get old with a lot physical problems associated with violating the suggestions in the list above. Getting old can be a desirable thing to do if you are in excellent physical condition, and old people who are in good shape are among the happiest people alive. So, don’t fear getting old, fear getting disabled. You have absolutely no control over the ticking clock but you do have considerable control over your behavior.
It is impossible to know what kind of stroke you are having at the time it is happening, and so you are gambling with your life no matter what you do. And when that event is upon you will be scared and confused. If you do choose go to the emergency room it will be a long time before their tests are performed and they can begin any serious treatment. That delay will put you at risk of permanent disabelment even death. On the other hand taking aspirin at the first sign of stroke will agrivate a bleeding stroke, which will bring on death much sooner but that type of stroke is realatively rare, about one in ten. Everything you do, is dangerous at this time. So, I fall back on my advice of long standing.
When you experience any strange sudden onset symptoms take a single aspirin immediately.

Be advised this is only my opinion and has no authority, but also be advised when a stroke comes you are on your own so act prudently.