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Mild stroke can lead to undetected depression

walk away from strokes

Some strokes go almost unnoticed with only mild symptoms and those people who experience them may live with hidden consequences including depression, vision problems and difficulty thinking. A new study from the Canadian Stroke Congress calls for new guidelines for the management of mild stroke.

Almost two-thirds of all strokes are considered mild and require only a short hospital stay of one to five days. Still, co-author Annie Rochette, PhD, of the University of Montreal believes, “There is no such thing as a mild stroke. These patients face huge challenges in their daily lives.” The 200 people she interviewed within weeks of their stroke reported greatly reduced quality of life.

She found they were younger, at an average age of 62, than the 75% of people who experience severe stroke at age 65 and older. Because they are younger, they worry about going back to work, supporting their families and their ability to drive and move independently. Few had their vision or cognitive abilities tested after their strokes while in the hospital or afterwards during post-stroke rehab. Occupational therapists, neuropsychologists or speech therapists are not usually called in for mild stroke.

“Patients are told to see their family doctor, but given no other tools or rehabilitation,” says Dr. Rochette. “When they go to drive again some people are too afraid to get behind the wheel.” They are afraid of another stroke and afraid of what the future may bring. “This study dispels the myth that mild strokes lead to few or no consequences.”

New treatment guidelines are needed. They want mild stroke patients to have greater access to rehabilitation services and better screening for mental health conditions including depression and anxiety. They also want more aggressive follow up since people who have a mild stroke are five times more likely to have a major stroke.

Source: Canadian Stroke Congress, Medical News Today

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