The tell-tale sign of stroke is the suddenness with which symptoms occur. “Start by calling 999. paramedics are trained to deal with stroke and will take you to the best hospital equipped to treat it. this may not be your nearest one, so having someone take you to hospital instead of calling 999 may actually delay treatment instead of speeding it up,” says Dr Quinn.
“In hospital you should be given a brain scan to determine what has caused the stroke, so you get the most appropriate treatment,”
Don’t take any medication, such as aspirin, unless you’re told to do so by a paramedic or doctor. Research by Oxford University found that taking aspirin shortly after a mini stroke could significantly reduce your risk of experiencing a full blown one. But the benefits depend on what caused the stroke – if it’s caused by a bleed on the brain, taking aspirin could make things worse instead of better, so wait for medical advice.
“Also bear in mind that although a stroke nearly always affects just one side of your body – you need to take any kind of sudden ‘funny turn’ seriously,” says Dr Quinn. “even fleeting symptoms that have quickly passed need to be treated as an emergency. they could mean you’ve had a mini stroke or tIA (transient Ischaemic Attack).”
You still need to call 999 and get urgent treatment. Mini strokes can be a warning sign and speedy treatment may be able to prevent a full-blown stroke – don’t worry about wasting the doctor’s time, it’s better to get it checked out.
Having someone take you to hospital instead of calling 999 may actually delay your treatment