Heart group draws attention to mini strokes

May 7, 2009 1:54:59 PM PDT
Mini strokes may not sound that serious. But, experts say, don't be fooled, these attacks need to be treated as medical emergencies. More than 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with a mini stroke each year, but researchers now fear many thousand more go unrecognized because people don't seek treatment.

Mini strokes have the same symptoms as a full blown stroke, such as weakness, slurred speech or confusion. But these symptoms generally last only a few minutes, so many people don't take them seriously.

The American Heart Association is trying to change that by urging doctors and patients to treat mini strokes as a medical emergency. That's because people who have one of these attacks are at high risk of having a full blown stroke in the immediate future.