Fashion Fiend, the migraines that you are having sound very worrisome because your symptoms aren't the usual "auras" that occur before a migraine. Bells went off when I read your post and I went back and pulled an old post I had written last year. I grew up with migraines: vomitting, sensitive to lights, sounds, smells, certain foods, chocolate, stress, lack of sleep. The day it snowed, I had a whopper of a headache, but I did a little house cleaning, little snow shoveling and came back in to dust when I "kinda lost my balance, had a loud, strange sound in my ear, my eyes felt funny, my arm felt spastic", and I could not talk 'a mile a minute' to my son, as usual. He was even laughing at me and I could not figure out why. It took us a few minutes to realize something was wrong. What happened for the next year is a result of that hour, so I wanted to post it here, for the migraine sufferers to read.
I posted on another board about a headache (migraine) that I had last February 20something, 2005. It was different than any I had ever had, but there were some other things that I noticed that were clues that I have put together as an answer for "what is a stroke?". It is important that I share this information with all of you, and I'll be happy to answer any questions that you might have after you read what I have written. Migraines themselves can be a clue to an even bigger problem, ASD or "hole in your heart", which is what I ended up having (since birth!) Some doctors even believe that the migraines are what happens when unclean blood bypasses the lungs and goes straight to the brain (thus causing the little flashes). Quite interesting...University Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore has a team that does alot of leading edge technology on this and other major hospitals and schools have info on the web about migraines and ASD. This is a little off topic, sorry. Migraine sufferers are prime suspects for having a stroke, so just be aware, if you suffer from migraines, take action if you notice ANY THING DIFFERENT from YOUR usual migraine!
A mini stroke is like a regular stroke, just like Rhonda said, only less severe. Unfortunately, when the symptoms of a stroke occur, a person should not waste time trying to figure out how serious it is, but seek medical attention.
Symptoms can vary, depending on what part of the brain is affected, but a sudden onset of problems with speech, hearing, vision, coordination, balance (even response) when accompanied by a severe headache or not, is reason enough to seek immediate medical attention. Every minute counts if there is a part of your brain that is being deprived of oxygen, either from a clot or a bleed.
If by the time you reach the emergency room the symptoms are getting better, then you are lucky to be where there is help to figure out what caused the "brain attack". If you are still as bad, the doctors have 3 hours from the start of the "brain attack" to give medicine to save the brain from dying from lack of oxygen.
Age does not matter, either. I had this happen to me 11 months ago, when I was 53, with no heart disease, no medical problems, so I figured (see, I said "figured" since I was so young and not at risk) that I was just having a TIA so I waited until my husband got home, and rested... etc and didn't go to the doctor until the next morning, when I could barely write or talk and was dragging my right foot. I learned all these facts the hard way and have been rehabilitating myself since.
I was fortunate that I only killed a portion of my brain about the size of a dime/nickel, in my left hemisphere, in my language center. Now, I have been blessed that most of my deficits have been recovered and I am back to teaching and writing to my friends at BellaOnline (which I missed when my right hand wouldn't work and my words didn't come).
It is now my mission to tell everyone who will listen that the time to find out the difference in strokes and TIAs is AFTER the episode is over and you are healthy, not while you are going through it. Get immediately to a hospital and let THEM decide what to do and save yourself and your family all the hassles of being a stroke patient; disabled, unable to walk and talk and think normally.
I am under a neurologist care now, every six months I see him. I couldn't have a drink for 6 months because my brain had a soft, spongy spot that could start to bleed again. I don't care much about drinking at all, now. The good thing I learned is that these doctors are now using a medicine to PREVENT migraines. (I can't take imitrex and all that stuff anymore). The stuff I am on works really great, but then again I did have the hole in my heart repaired. The med is called Topamax, if any of you are seeing a neurologist, you can get his/her opinion.
Fashion Fiend, I would definitely recommend that you get a checkup and mention ALL the symptoms that you said on here. I think a checkup is the 1st thing to do and the doctor may want more tests, just to make sure nothing else is going on or getting ready to go on. You may certainly use my testimonial (email me and I'll give you specifics if you need more). Good Luck and may all your headaches be small ones, but just pay attention to the differences. <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />