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Vague Stroke Symptoms Linked to Lower Quality of Life

Similar quality of life as those who have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack

FRIDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with stroke-like symptoms but no diagnosis of stroke or transient ischemic attack have a lower quality of life compared to those without symptoms and a similar quality of life as those who have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack, according to a study published online Aug. 2 in Stroke.

George Howard, Dr.P.H., from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and colleagues examined physical and mental quality-of-life measures (by the Physical and Mental Component summary scores of the Short Form 12) in 16,090 patients free of stroke symptoms, 3,404 patients with a history of stroke symptoms but no stroke or transient ischemic attack, 1,491 patients with a history of stroke, and 818 patients with a history of transient ischemic attack.

The researchers found that compared with those with no stroke symptoms, the physical quality-of-life measure was an average of 5.5 points lower in those with symptoms, 6.0 points lower in those with a history of transient ischemic attack, and 8.4 points lower in those with a history of stroke. Scores were lower in those with a history of weakness or numbness.

They also found that mental quality-of-life scores were lower in those with symptoms or a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack, though not as much as the physical scores. Scores were lower in those with a history of being unable to express themselves or understand language.

"Apart from so-called 'silent stroke,' there appear to be many individuals with possibly symptomatic cerebrovascular disease -- either stroke or transient ischemic attack -- who are not being diagnosed," Howard and colleagues concluded. "Furthermore, these symptomatic but undiagnosed strokes may not be benign."

Abstract
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