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  • Diagnosing and treating TIA after a stroke

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    Old 08-06-2010, 09:38 PM   #1
    Join Date: Sep 2004
    Location: California
    Posts: 342
    lizzy76 HB User
    Diagnosing and treating TIA after a stroke

    I'm a 34 yr old female who had a stroke June 20, 2010. I have thankfully fully recovered my strength and speech from the initial stroke event and the only residual effects seem to be headaches and tiring easily, which I'm not used to considering before this all happened I was an active woman in her mid-30's! But I can tell I'm slowly getting my strength and stamina back, thankfully.

    My stroke was caused by dissections in my carotid arteries, as I've talked about in a previous thread on this board. The left carotid artery now has two stents in it and is/should be 100% open. However, my left carotid artery remains 70% occluded due to dissection, and my right rear cerebral (or maybe it was vertebral) artery is 30% occluded due to dissection as well. I'm following up with my neuro interventional radiologist in about a month to see how things are progressing... whether they are healing themselves on meds (Plavix and aspirin) or if he'll need to place another stent on right front coratid artery. I have a follow up MRI/MRA at the end of August. But in the meantime, I've experienced some symptoms that I'm not sure what to do about... Severe headache (but that's come and gone since the stent procedure and stroke), very fast heart rate at times - 160+/per minute and that will last for a few hours. That's happened about 4 times over the past month and each time I've taken an Ativan in case it's anxiety related, although at the time I don't feel anxious, I figure it can't hurt. However, the Ativan never does anything to lower my HR. One time I woke up and my heart was racing like that seemingly out of nowhere (no weird dreams or anything). Since I had the stroke I now have a blood pressure monitor at home so I checked my HR that night and it was like 164 or higher for a few hours. It did go down on its own after awhile but I'm not sure if that's something I should get checked out.

    I am experiencing some tingling on my right side - leg, arm, face - and this is the side that was originally affected by the stroke but it seems this side should be the "safest" b/c the stent is in place on the left side and the coratid artery is now wide open as opposed to 99% blocked like it was when I had the stroke. So it seems if I get any stroke symptoms it would be on the left side where there is still significant blockage on the right arteries? Does that make sense? So how do people know if they are having a TIA vs a stroke? Do TIA's show up on exams like MRI's or CT scans? Or am I just worrying too much given what's happened in the past month and a half?! My neuro IR doctor is out of town for 3 weeks and I'd hate to go to the ER for nothing... I already had to go back a couple of days after I was discharged from surgery for a kidney infection - I was bleeding too much while urinating (along w/the infection) and was worried b/c of all the blood thinners I'd just started taking... I guess I'm worried I'll become "that patient" who is always having problems but they can never find any cause/reason for them.... I suppose this shouldn't stop me from seeking medical care if I need to, but honestly it does hold me back a lot. I know that so far each time I've gone to the ER there has been a medical reason to do so, but I'm afraid at some point there won't be and my doctors will think I'm a hypochondriac or something.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I do have a history of anorexia and depression (i.e. a psych history) and although that is in my past, I'm used to it being brought to the forefront of many medical consultations that I have. The doctors see it in my records and always question whether or not I'm fully recovered as I've told them. I do see a psychiatrist for maintenance medication treatment (all I'm taking right now is something for sleep) but they hear I'm still seeing a psychiatrist and assume the worst. What's even more frustrating is that I always offer them the name and number (and pager #) of my psychiatrist and they never call the guy!! They just make their own assumptions w/out even speaking to someone who is actually treating me and has known me for over 2 years, and has been in the field for over 45 yrs!! But, that is a tangent for another day and another thread... Thankfully my doctors at UCSD are treating me as a stroke patient w/very rare and serious dissections, and not as a psych patient who may have some physical complaints, but that fear is always there....

    Last edited by lizzy76; 08-06-2010 at 09:43 PM.

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