A TIA (Transient ischemic attack), or mini stroke, is generally a disurbing, but not life threatening or even lifestyle threatening event. It generally incurs a night at the hospital and a recommendation for followup testing and possible treatment. In most cases there is no treatment at the time, because with a mini stroke the symptoms resolve fairly rapidly.
A stroke, on the other hand, is life changing at best and life threatening in many cases. From a life insurance underwriting standpoint there is an underwriting view that distinguishes between the two, a mini stroke or a stroke, to a degree that matches the impact the two have on your life.
Both are going to require some waiting period before insurance is written. With a TIA this has more to do with seeing if there will be a recurrence, or a stroke. With a stroke it has to do with recovery from the neurological effects, how severely impacted the person is, and success of treatment in preventing recurrence.
A recent study
pointed out that the medical community may be having too lax an attitude about mini strokes. As I mentioned, there is often a waiting period before any treatment is started. In many instances this can be weeks or months. The study concludes that if treatment is started within 24 hours of a mini stroke, it cuts that person’s chances of having a full blown stroke in the next three months by 80%.
We’re not talking about rocket science when they suggest starting treatment immediately. In most cases, after testing and study, mini stroke patients are put on cholesterol and high blood pressure controlling drugs and aspirin as ongoing treatment to prevent a stroke. Seems it might make a lot of sense to start that treatment immediately. Even if the doctors ultimately decide on a different course of action, they certainly won’t have done any harm in the short run. They may very well save the person’s life.
As with all health problems, and especially major health problems, the less impact it has on your life, the less impact it will have on your ability to find reasonable life insurance rates. If there is a way to keep a less damaging health issue like a TIA from leading to a huge issue like a stroke, it makes sense that the medical community would leap on it as common sense.
Bottom line. Life insurance doesn’t just look at the medical event, but also at the damage done and how prone that makes a person to additional mortality effecting events. Hopefully common sense will lead to common practice on the issue of mini strokes.