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BFR training with history of stroke/TIA

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  • BFR training with history of stroke/TIA

    Hey Docs,

    I'm training at home these days and given a recent article by Mike T it has me remembering BFR training as a tool for training when you can't go super heavy (due to equipment limitations).

    I'm a 6 foot 1, 190lb, 31 year old male with no current conditions. The standout thing in my medical history is a TIA i experienced at 16 years old. Lost complete control of left side of body for a few minutes. No leftover paralysis from that and no episodes since.

    I always wrote BFR training off as something i shouldn't go anywhere near given my TIA but now i'm just a little curious if I am right in that belief?

    I'm happy to provide more info and thanks for everything you all do!

  • #2
    Can you clarify how this was determined to be a TIA, or whether it was attributed to any other medical condition you have? Or was it just called a "TIA" because of the symptom you experienced?

    Having any degree of true cerebral ischemia at age 16 would be extremely unlikely, especially in the absence of other underlying medical conditions like vascular/thrombotic disorders, sickle cell disease, congenital heart conditions, certain inflammatory disorders, etc.
    IG / YT

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    • #3
      I can't specify what made it a TIA specifically but I can say what tests were done. I recall spending some days in the hospital after the event and there was a CT scan, an echocardiogram, and an MRI (head). I even had a nerve test done. There were no major conclusions but they seemed to thing a blood clot had traveled to my brain. My own anecdote: I was sitting...a lot...as a teenager. Often in an office chair where my feet weren't touching the ground. Maybe a blood clot had formed in my legs that way?

      My understanding was that they just called it a TIA because there was no lasting paralysis, i.e. a stroke.

      Thanks Austin.

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      • #4
        To clarify: "they seemed to thing a blood clot had traveled to my brain" was in relation to some dark grey area they saw in the MRI.

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        • #5
          Yeah, this is all still quite unusual. If the thought was that you had an embolic event at 16, the cause of this would really need to be sorted out and treated, for example if it's a structural issue with the heart (since blood clots in the legs cannot end up in the brain without structural heart issues), some sort of a primary clotting disorder, infectious/inflammatory issue, etc. Such events are not the kind of thing we brush off and hope never happens again, since strokes can be potentially devastating / life threatening -- and from your posts I don't get the impression that you've been treated with anticoagulants since then.

          If you have some sort of proven thrombophilia (i.e., a propensity towards blood clots), I would definitely avoid BFR training. Outside of that scenario I don't see how it would have many implications with respect to your brain, but again -- this history is pretty unusual and makes it hard to comment on confidently. Sorry man.
          IG / YT

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          • #6
            All good. Thanks for the guidance.

            As a final question, we never really looked deeper into this much longer after all of the tests came up inconclusive. And no on the medication, I only ever was ordered to take baby aspirin for a few months afterward. Its been 15 years since the event and nothing has happened since. I began training about six years ago. Do you think I should see a doctor to begin looking into this again? I realize you've got limited information on me but I figured I'd ask.

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            • #7
              While we can't ever tell someone to avoid medical evaluation via this forum, if you've been off all medicines and haven't had any recurrent issues since then, I'm don't think it's likely to be helpful/necessary. It just makes me skeptical that you had a true embolic / ischemic event in the first place, is all.

              Basically: not all transient neurological symptoms are due to ischemia, and the burden of proof to call something an ischemic event in a 16 year old healthy kid is quite high, imo.
              IG / YT

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              • #8
                I agree with Austin that it may not be necessary, but if you do plan to get a consultation on this, I would recommend seeing a neurologist who is a stroke specialist. And if you are seeing someone in a different medical system than the first time around: go back to the first place and get a CD with all your imaging (actual MRI and CT pictures, not just the reports, you probably have to get this from Radiology dept, not Medical Records) and copies of all the blood tests done at the time. This will save you and the next doc a lot of time and maybe some unnecessary tests.

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