While many Americans would prefer to die than suffer a stroke, it isn’t always fatal. Millions of happy, healthy stroke survivors live fulfilling lives today.

Early detection is crucial. A stroke is only one sign. A Transient Ischemic Attack or ministroke (TIA) does not cause permanent disability.

TIAs do not cause stroke symptoms. This is why many of the 250,000-350,000 Americans who experience TIAs every year are able to ignore the condition. However, patients should consider TIAs a ringing alarm. Approximately one-third of patients with TIAs will suffer a stroke later on.

A TIA can help doctors determine if a patient is at risk for stroke. Dr. Clay Johnston of San Francisco’s University of California developed the ABCD2 tool. It predicts short term stroke risk within just two days of a TIA.

Ask your doctor about the ABCD2 tool. It is free to download from the National Stroke Association.

Association Website at www.stroke.org/ABCD. Doctors use the tool to determine a patient’s score by using five factors -: age, blood pressure TIA symptoms, TIA duration, and diabetes – Patients are at greater risk of having their skin rubbed for up to 90 days following TIAs if they have a higher ABCD2 score.

TIAs last typically less than 24 hrs. Patients who experience a TIA should seek medical attention immediately. Early intervention can prevent stroke-related disability and death.

A stroke is different from a TIA. Patients or loved ones should call 9-1-1 immediately if they notice stroke symptoms.