By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There is no doubt that a stroke can be devastating and, if not detected and treated early enough, a stroke can cause permanent disability. But what about small strokes also known as transient ischemic attacks. Can they have long term effects?

According to a new British study that looked at patients for five years after they had an episode, while patients’ quality of life gradually improved after the event, the researchers found that they were still much unhappier than people of the same age who had not had an episode.

There are two theories about this.

One is that people who experience stroke symptoms can feel overwhelmed by the thought they had a stroke at one time. The other is that some of the medications prescribed can cause some impact on mood.

Not surprisingly, the decrease in quality years of life was most drastic in patients with severe or repeat strokes.

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