My Dad has had a mini-stroke/TIA

Hi All,

Am trying to get more information regarding the probability of another stroke in the near future.

The worrying thing is that he was already on the medication suggested (asprin etc. to thin the blood) and he didn’t drink. His diet was fairly reasonable (not too much greasy food), so I’m a bit worried that he might still get another stroke in the near future despite him having the recommended diet beforehand.

He’s fairly active, so I don’t know how we can lessen the chances of further strokes when he’s already ticking most things on the list on things to do to reduce future risks.

As he’s diabetic he’s always kept his blood sugar levels fairly well managed.


Hello @MADS

Welcome to the forum. You have arrived in a place where there’s a lot of support and a good deal of knowledge, where you can ask questions, read about many people’s journeys and experiences.
Search for specific topics using the magnifying glass at the top of the page or use the categories: there’s a lot more info than you’ll ever get from the medical staff who are always poor communicating what you really need to know and while it’s unstructured here it is in all the posts. Time spent reading & searching will be well rewarded

If your dad’s had a TIA the t means transient. Fingers crossed its just a warning. If he has permanent changes then he had a stroke

If you start reading your realise that first the journey is likely to be a long one, probably measured in years. Also it’s good to treat it as an event between two chapters the second of which is the rest of your lives and therefore look forwards not backwards.

I think all my further thoughts are around if it’s a stroke.

you as a family will all now be stroke warriors and will be all affected, may need your own support, and will have to learn how to support your dad because he’s not the only survivor. There are a myriad of ways in which this change in life’s journey will have secondary and tertiary impacts and they aren’t all bad but they are all slow to develop after the instantaneous teleportation to a new reality that happened and wasn’t negotiable. Sometimes that results in PTSD for anybody involved .

I suggest you have a look at this list: 40 things to know: what would you underline add or delete

I think @Mahoney probably covered the "another stroke question”. They’re a likely to be tests in the short term that will look for things like a undiagnosed hole in the heart (very common about quarter of the population) and they may just never find a cause - I haven’t been given a cause for mine - I’ve had several apparently only one put me in hospital. Your dad may have had silent strokes in the past too. The main point is there is practically nothing that can be done to eliminate the risk, there is stuff that can be done to reduce the anxiety about them and the anxiety can be crippling so if it’s causing you and or him concerns I would suggest you investigate the mindfulness techniques for reducing it . Certainly putting him in cotton wool for the rest of his life isn’t practical or rewarding .

I wish you well good luck to him and you

@MADS Hi & welcome to the group. Sorry to hear your dad has had a TIA.

These are usually a warning sign that you a stroke could happen but that doesn’t mean it will happen. I think we all have the anxiety around ut happening again but that usually lessens over time.

You say he’s on aspirin to thin the blood. This will help reduce the chances of a clot based stroke happening.

As others have said you can’t eliminate the risk but you can reduce it. Sounds like your dad is already doing that.

If you are really wortied about it speak to his GP / consultant & they will go through your concerns with you.

Wishing you & your dad all the best.


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Hi All,
Many thanks for the helpful replies.

Even though my Dad is fairly fit for his age (79) we’d like him to do more exercise. However, he, like many in that age group can be a bit stubborn.

Any hints and tips on how to get someone to do more exercise will be greatly received.

Many thanks


Hi @MADS and welcome to the forum :smile:

At 79 years old, exercise isn’t really realistic even if he was healthy.
All he needs is enough to keep the circulation going, and as a diabetic, I’m sure he’s already doing that. As you’ve said, he’s already doing all the other things that can reduce the risk of a future stroke. But, as with any illness, while you can reduce the chance of having one, it’s impossible to eliminate that chance completely. If he’s already doing everything he can, then he can do no more.

Unfortunately, being the age that he is and having diabetes will increase the likelihood of a stroke no matter what you do to manage it. All you can really ask is to keep up with what he’s already doing and try not to worry about the future when it’s something you can’t control. At that age, regardless of how healthy you are, these things just happen, and stressing him and yourself out by trying to set unrealistic standards for exercise isn’t going to do anything but make you both tired and miserable.

The stroke alone can majorly affect how much energy you have, so he’s probably refusing to exercise because he’s tired. He also might not feel able to do as much as you would like him to, and constantly trying to force him to do it will only frustrate him further. A better option may be to sit down and discuss his strengths and play to that instead.

Light exercises to help regain mobility or improve circulation would be alright, but don’t force anything onto him if he feels he isn’t yet capable of doing them. Another idea is to not focus on exercise specifically, but getting him to just do activities in general and have him more active around the house. Doing things that he enjoys, or just household chores will feel like he’s accomplishing something and will feel worth doing.

It will be more productive and provide useful practice around the house to return some of the mobility and motor skills etc he had before the stroke with a tangible outcome to each task that he will want to achieve. It’s more motivating than just doing repetitive movements for an arbitrary amount of time like most exercises are and it will also better aid in his recovery. As these sorts of tasks would be things that he’s already familiar with, they’d be easier to do. It may not be as good as running on a tread mill for 20mins but at 79 he doesn’t need to do that anyway. And remember, at his age, too much can be just as detrimental to his health as not enough!

I wish nothing but the best for your dad’s recovery and take good care of yourself too.

Both different strokes and the stroke association have YouTube playlists of exercises that are suitable for different mobility levels including low mobility chair based

Emerald eyes is spot on. Repetitive exercises aren’t motivating. If you’d dad is everything like me motivation has to be intrinsic and any extrinsic force is hugely hugely counterproductive if you tell me to do it You’re consuming all my energy with ignorance of the battles I’m facing internally for the brain injury and how I’m feeling and can’t describe so you’ve not only used my energy up, emotionally positioned me to be resistant etc

Instead discuss desires then enablers - the last quarter of this post give some ideas - Memory and Coginitive Problems - #15 by SimonInEdinburgh

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Many thanks for the latest replies. They have been very helpful.

One thing the has been noticeable is that my Dad was less motivated to do things for a few months prior to having his stroke (mobility wise hasn’t affected any movement in his limbs at all). Basically since the start of the year.

The doctor thinks this could be that he has mild depression so on top of the TIA, things are going to make motivation more of a challenge.

The biggest mistake, I think, that doctors make is to call it a mini-stroke/TIA. It’s fine as “in-house” medical terminology because they know and understand the terminology. But to use those terms with patients and carers is deceptive and misleading. It’s not like the difference between a sprained or broken ankle. It’s so much more!

Fortunately for me, my consultant put strong emphasis on the fact I had a stroke…“you’ve had a mini stroke or TIA” he said “but it doesn’t matter what it’s called, it’s a stroke and another one could happen any time, and the next one could be bigger!” All strokes cause injury, how long it takes the brain to heal and repair is a different matter. Yes you may be able to recover to a sufficient extent, in 6 months, to be able to care for yourself just enough to get by…slowly. Anything more will take 2+ years, and I’ve still a ways to go! Life becomes a ‘work in progress’! You are continually recovering in drips and drabs; several months ago I covered a some facial expression and mouth droop, then just a few weeks ago I recovered some more cognition…and this is 2½ years after my "mini-stroke/TIA!

To the outside world you don’t notice even half the things that are still missing in in our brains, but we do! And they can be an exhausting battle for the brain to work around. It’s a continuous struggle to catch up and keep up, like a toddler walking alongside a 6ft tall parent, you are going to tire much quicker than the parent…or the person you were before you had the stroke, half that person is gone now! Everyone needs time, patients and understanding to come to terms with the person you are now and to just accept and celebrate the person you have become for time you have left.

You’re dad’s brain is in charge and it’s not necessarily that he is being a bit stubborn. It’s can be like he has a split personality (left brain, right brain) and he could be in the middle of doing something and the brain will just turn him away from. He could either go do something or go sit down and just be for a time. At least, that’s the way it was for me. When the brain is in that frame of mind, I’m afraid wild horses couldn’t get me to move; I’m assuming it was in processing/storing mode (like a computer) and needs to temporarily shut down in order to reboot. It is in fact a stroke!

You could also try him on Complan or Meritene shakes, most chemist and supermarkets stock one or the other. They are a nutritional supplement designed to provide extra energy and nutrients to the body. Even when he’s sleeping or not doing much, his body is still burning up an awful lot of energy and nutrients in healing and they need replenishing. These shakes are good way of getting extra nutrients into him and can even be mixed in with favourite foods or he can keep one beside him to sip at his leisure. It might be just enough to boost his energy levels and get him motivated…if that is all that this is.


Thanks for the reply EmeraldEyes.

The odd thing is that prior to his stroke he’d been acting a bit confused from time time, and he’s as subdued since he had his stroke. It’s as though, stroke aside, his mood his the same before and after. It’s almost as if something else has been affecting his mind and brain. That’s where the doctor thinks he may be suffering from depression. The CT scan showed little of any note, and we are awaiting the MRI results.

He’s had dementia tests and passed all those, so the doctors don’t think it’s that.

Thanks once again for all your replies.

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Could still be the early stages of dementia. It’s harder to detect if your dad isn’t presenting any of the signs at the time of testing.


Can TIA’s go undetected?:
The reason could be that he’d already had at least one minor TIA incident before the current one you know of. That could be why he seemed subdued already.

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