A person’s life expectancy after a mini stroke reduces by around 4% in the first year following the attack in comparison to people who have not had one. In the following 9 years, life expectancy reduces by 20%.

These statistics come from a 2019 review.

A mini stroke, or transient ischemic attack (TIA), can happen if the blood supply to part of the brain reduces temporarily. It can cause stroke-like symptoms, such as weakness, numbness, and confusion, but it does not cause permanent damage.

However, a TIA increases the risk of stroke to around 20% within 3 months, with around half of all strokes occurring within 48 hours of the initial symptoms. This is why it is critical to take mini strokes seriously and seek emergency medical attention.

This article looks at life expectancy after a mini stroke and discusses stroke prevention.

A person walking past an iron fence on a city street.Share on Pinterest
Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Scientists analyze the impact of TIAs on life expectancy by looking at relative survival rates. This measures how many people survive over a certain period of time after the TIA in comparison to people who have not had one.

A 2019 research review states that people who experienced a TIA had a 4% lower relative survival rate in the first year after the attack. Over the next 9 years, the relative survival rate was 20% lower.

Experiencing a TIA increases the risk of stroke, particularly within the first couple of months following the event. Although some people fully recover following a stroke, life expectancy can decrease as a result of having one.

A 2021 study found that around two-thirds of people lived longer than 3 years after a stroke. Various factors can affect a person’s life expectancy, including their age, overall health, and severity of the stroke.

There is no recent research that has investigated the impact of TIAs on the survival rates of different age groups.

However, older research from 2011 indicates that TIAs have a minimal effect on life expectancy in people aged 50 and under, but can significantly reduce life expectancy in those over 65.

Yes, many people who experience a mini stroke make a full recovery. Most symptoms last from only a few minutes to 24 hours. Because of this, some people dismiss them.

However, TIAs can be warning signs that a person is at risk of more serious conditions. Early diagnosis and treatment reduce the risk of further, potentially life threatening strokes or heart attacks.

No, mini strokes do not always lead to major strokes, but they can increase the risk. The early risk of stroke is around 4–9% within 90 days of having a TIA.

If the person does not receive treatment, their risk of stroke within the following 5 years is around 20–30%. These people also have an increased risk of heart attack and other serious cardiac events.

Because TIAs can precede a stroke or raise the risk of having one, people should not hesitate in contacting their doctor if they believe they have had one. Medical professionals can help a person take steps to reduce their risk of stroke.

This may involve:

Stopping smoking

Smoking and secondhand smoke are major causes of cardiovascular disease, including stroke. Tobacco smoke:

  • damages blood vessels
  • reduces oxygen in the bloodstream
  • makes blood more sticky and likely to clot
  • increases plaque buildup in blood vessels

Quitting smoking can significantly reduce a person’s risk of stroke. Even if a person has smoked for years, quitting reduces the risk of stroke almost immediately.

Within 8 hours of quitting, blood oxygen levels improve, and carbon monoxide and nicotine levels reduce by more than 50%. After 5 years of smoking cessation, stroke risk is the same as it is for a person who does not smoke.

Diet and exercise

Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, which helps protect against stroke. People should aim to eat:

  • plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • grains
  • lean proteins
  • low-fat dairy

It is also important for a person to avoid processed foods and sugary drinks.

In addition, exercising for 2 hours and 30 minutes weekly can help boost heart health and reduce stroke risk.

Controlling blood pressure and health conditions

High blood pressure is one of the most significant risk factors for stroke. However, it usually has no symptoms, so a person must have regular checkups.

Lifestyle changes such as maintaining a moderate weight, eating a balanced diet, reducing stress, and exercising can help reduce blood pressure. Sometimes, people may need medication to lower their blood pressure.

If a person has conditions that raise the risk of stroke, such as diabetes or heart disease, they should receive regular checkups and follow their doctor’s advice and treatment recommendations.

Support and resources are available for people who have had a mini stroke or are at risk of having one. They include:

According to research, people who have a TIA, or mini stroke, have a slightly reduced survival rate during the following year in comparison to people who have not had an attack. This difference in survival increases over time.

TIAs elevate the risk of stroke. People can reduce their risk of stroke by quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, controlling blood pressure, and managing any existing medical conditions. A person may also need medications or other treatments to lower the risk.

People who would like support and guidance in recovering from a mini stroke, and reducing their risk of another stroke in the future, can contact a doctor for advice.