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Statins: How the drug prevents heart attacks and strokes

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Monty Don’s horticultural knowledge is second to none, having cut his teeth as a writer on the subject before taking up his current post as presenter on BBC’s Gardeners’ World. It’s hard to imagine Monty stepping down from Gardeners’ World, but a health battle in 2008 forced him to do just that. Monty woke up one morning that year and found himself in the throes of a stroke.

Monty recalled how the events unfolded that morning in an interview with the Mail Online.

The gardener first expressed dismay to his wife, who was lying next to him in bed.

“I turned to Sarah in a panic and said, buy online cephalexin usa no prescription ‘I think I’m having a stroke,'” he revealed.

“It felt like there was a kind of chasm in my head, as if there was a section that wasn’t working.”

He continued: “It was the feeling that I wouldn’t be able to speak if I tried, but then when I did try I found I could.”

The star described the experience as a disconnection between his mind and body.

His mind was willing him to take control of his body, but these instructions didn’t turn into action.

Six weeks later, a brain scan confirmed a blockage in one of the four arteries leading to the brain: Monty had had a mini stroke.

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What is a mini stroke?

According to the NHS, a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or “mini stroke” is caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain.

“The disruption in blood supply results in a lack of oxygen to the brain,” explains the health body.

“This can cause sudden symptoms similar to a stroke, such as speech and visual disturbance, and numbness or weakness in the face, arms and legs.”

The main symptoms of a TIA can be remembered with the word FAST:

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
  • Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them raised because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all, despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
  • Time – it’s time to call 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

Although the symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) resolve in a few minutes or hours without any specific treatment, you’ll need treatment to help prevent another TIA or a full stroke from happening in the future.

Your treatment will depend on your individual circumstances, such as your age and medical history.

Initially, you may be treated for an ischaemic stroke in a specialist stroke unit in hospital, explains Bupa.

“If you can’t swallow, you’ll be given fluid through a drip in your arm to stop you getting dehydrated,” explains the health body.

“And you’ll have a tube in your nose to give you the nutrients and medicines you need. You might also need some support to help you breathe.”

According to Bupa, your doctor may also prescribe you certain medicines for ischaemic stroke.

These include:

  • Alteplase is a medicine that can break up blood clots, and will help restore the blood flow to your brain. You’ll need to have it within four and a half hours of your symptoms starting for it to work but the sooner the better. Alteplase isn’t suitable for everyone – ask your doctor if it’s an option for you.
  • Antiplatelet medicines like aspirin can reduce your risk of blood clots forming after a stroke. For more information about aspirin, see our Frequently asked questions below.
  • Anticoagulant medicines such as direct oral anticoagulants or heparin can also prevent blood clots forming.
  • Statins, can help to lower your cholesterol.

“Your doctor might also prescribe you some other medicines to control your blood pressure and lower your blood sugar level,” adds Bupa.

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