Almost three-quarters of people would not go to hospital if they experienced the symptoms of a mini-stroke, a charity has said.

The Stroke Association said 74% of people would not go to A&E if they experienced symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

Research conducted by the charity found that more than two thirds of people did not recognise the symptoms of a TIA - which affects more than 46,000 people every year in the UK.

While 87% of people would be worried if they experienced the symptoms - which include short periods of facial weakness, speech problems and pins and needles down one side of the body - just 26% of people said they would go to hospital if they experienced them, according to the poll of 2,000 people.

The charity, which released the figures to coincide with World Stroke Day, said TIA is a warning sign for a major stroke.

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  • The FAST test

    The Face-Arm-Speech-Time (FAST) test lists the main symptoms to look out for

  • Face

    Has the person's face fallen on one side? Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

  • Arms

    Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?

  • Speech

    Is their speech slurred?

  • Time

    It's time to call 999 if you see one or more of these signs.

Research has previously indicated that if all patients experiencing a mini-stroke received emergency treatment, almost 10,000 strokes could be avoided every year in the UK.

Jon Barrick, chief executive of the Stroke Association, said: "The results of this poll are very concerning. Over 150,000 people have a stroke every year in the UK but up to 10,000 of these could be prevented if more people were aware of the symptoms of TIA and sought out emergency treatment.

"Not only would this save thousands from a lifetime of disability, it would also save the health service a considerable sum.

"Too many people remain unaware of the huge risk of stroke following a TIA. This needs to change. Anyone who experiences the symptoms, regardless of whether they disappear within a matter of minutes, should go to hospital immediately. Assume it's a stroke until it's proven not to be by a medical professional."

The Stroke Association said that without emergency treatment, one in 10 people who have a TIA will go on to have a full stroke within a week.

The charity said that like a major stroke, a TIA can be diagnosed using "Fast" even though symptoms are only temporary.

The "Fast" campaign urges people to look out for the following signs and call 999 if they spot a single one.

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  • Chocolate

    A Swedish study in the journal <em>Neurology</em> showed that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/chocolate-stroke-risk-men_n_1841314.html">eating chocolate</a> is linked with a lower risk of stroke in men. The study, which included 37,103 men, showed that men who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/chocolate-stroke-risk-men_n_1841314.html">ate the most chocolate</a> in the 10-year study had a 17 percent lower risk of stroke, compared with those who didn't report eating any chocolate during that time period.

  • Whole Grains

    Eating lots of whole grains could help to <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11000647">lower risk of ischemic stroke for women</a>, according to a study in the <em>Journal of the American Medical Association</em>. The findings showed that women who ate the <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117936&page=1#.UHL5F_mfGPJ">most whole grains</a> in the study (like the amount you'd get by eating two or three whole grain bread slices every day) had a 30 to 40 percent lower stroke risk, compared with women who ate the fewest whole grains in the study (like the amount you'd get by eating just a half-slice of whole grain bread every day), according to ABC News.

  • Citrus Fruits

    An <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/26/citrus-stroke-risk-antioxidant-flavonoid_n_1299753.html">antioxidant found in citrus fruits</a> could help to lower risk of stroke in women, according to a study of 70,000 women earlier this year in the journal <em>Stroke</em>. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital found that women who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/26/citrus-stroke-risk-antioxidant-flavonoid_n_1299753.html">consumed the most flavonoids</a> over a 14-year period had a 19 percent lower risk of stroke than the women who consumed the fewest flavonoids during that time period.

  • Antioxidants

    While antioxidants aren't exactly a food on their own, fruits, vegetables and whole grains that are rich in them are linked with a lower stroke risk for women. Research published in the journal <em>Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association</em> showed that women with no heart disease history who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/03/antioxidants-stroke-risk-diet-food-vegetables-fruits_n_1124102.html">consumed the most antioxidants</a> from food had a 17 percent lower risk of stroke, and women <em>with</em> a heart disease history who consumed the most antioxidants from food had a <em>57</em> percent decreased risk of hemorrhagic stroke. The researchers, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, speculated that the protection comes from <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/03/antioxidants-stroke-risk-diet-food-vegetables-fruits_n_1124102.html">antioxidants' ability to stop inflammation </a>and oxidative stress in the body by neutralizing harmful free radicals. Antioxidants can also help to reduce blood clots and lower blood pressure and decrease inflammation, <a href="http://newsroom.heart.org/pr/aha/vegetables-fruits-grains-reduce-219833.aspx">according to the American Heart Association</a>.

  • Low-Fat Dairy

    Consuming low-fat dairy could help to <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2012/04/20/skim-milk-drinkers-rejoice-you-may-have-a-lower-stroke-risk/">lower the risk of stroke</a>, according to a <em>Stroke</em> study. The research showed that the adults who <a href="http://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20120419/low-fat-dairy-may-help-reduce-stroke-risk">consumed the most low-fat dairy</a> over a 10-year period had a 12 percent lower risk of stroke compared with those who consumed the least low-fat dairy over the time period. "It is possible that <a href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/aha-eld041612.php">vitamin D in low-fat dairy foods</a> may explain, in part, the observed lowered risk of stroke in this study because of its potential effect on blood pressure," study researcher Susanna Larsson, Ph.D., associate professor of nutritional epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet, said in a statement.

  • Magnesium-Rich Foods

    Foods <a href="http://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20120119/magnesium-rich-foods-may-lower-stroke-risk">loaded with magnesium</a> -- like beans, nuts leafy greens and whole grains -- are linked with a lower risk of ischemic stroke, WebMD Reported. The findings, published in the <em>American Journal of Clinical Nutrition</em>, showed specifically that for each 100 milligrams of magnesium consumed each day, ischemic stroke risk went down by 9 percent.

  • Fish

    Making sure to <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/26/us-fish-stroke-idUSTRE78P07V20110926">eat some fish</a> every week could help to lower risk of stroke, according to a review of studies published in the journal <em>Stroke</em>. Reuters reported on the study, which showed that eating fish several times a week was linked with a lower risk of stroke, compared with non-fish eaters. "I think overall, fish does provide a beneficial package of nutrients, in <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/26/us-fish-stroke-idUSTRE78P07V20110926">particular the omega-3s</a>, that could explain this lower risk," Dariush Mozaffarian, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, whose research was part of the <em>Stroke</em> analysis, told Reuters.

  • Learn About Stroke Risks

    Learn the different symptoms of stroke, and what happens inside the body when you suffer a stroke.