Taking aspirin straight after a ‘funny turn’ could slash the risk of suffering a major stroke. Many people have a ‘mini stroke’ each year – an episode many dismiss as tiredness or migraine. Common symptoms of stroke include arm weakness, slurred speech and blurred vision.
But these transient ischaemic attacks – TIAs – are a warning sign that a full-blown stroke could be on the way. And an Oxford University, United Kingdom (U.K.) study, published in the Lancet medical journal, found that taking an aspirin immediately after a TIA reduced the risk of a subsequent major stroke by up to 80 per cent.
If people report to hospital after a mini stroke, they are always given aspirin. But the Oxford team found it was far more effective when taken straight away at home.
Peter Rothwell, who led the study, said: “The risk of a major stroke is very high immediately after a TIA or a minor stroke – about 1,000 times higher than the background rate – but only for a few days.
“Taking aspirin as soon as possible after a “warning symptoms” event could be very worthwhile.”
His team studied data from 56,000 people, and found that taking aspirin immediately reduced the early risk of a fatal or disabling stroke by 70 to 80 per cent over the first few days and weeks.
Professor Rothwell added: “Our findings confirm the effectiveness of urgent treatment after TIA and minor stroke – and show that aspirin is the most important component.
“Immediate treatment with aspirin can substantially reduce the risk and severity of early recurrent stroke. “This finding has implications for doctors, who should give aspirin immediately if a TIA or minor stroke is suspected, rather than waiting for specialist assessment and investigations.”