A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a temporary interruption of blood flow to the brain resulting in stroke-like symptoms. Often referred to as a “mini-stroke,” a TIA occurs when the brain is temporarily deprived of oxygen due to a blockage.
Like a regular stroke, TIA symptoms come on suddenly and can include slurred speech, difficulty understanding what others are saying, dizziness, numbness or paralysis on one side of the body (including one side of the face drooping), weakness, headaches, loss of balance, and impaired vision. Unlike a regular stroke, however, a TIA is temporary with symptoms usually lasting only a few minutes, although they may persist for hours.
While a TIA does not cause permanent damage or disability, a TIA is considered a warning sign for stroke risj. In fact, approximately 15% of people who suffer a stroke have previously experienced a TIA. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after experiencing a TIA. Typical evaluations include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Computerized tomography (CT) scans to check for damage and ongoing blockage. Blood tests may be ordered to examine blood consistency, and exams may be ordered to monitor and evaluate the heart and circulatory system.
TIA sufferers are often advised to follow up with a neurologist and/orr cardiologist for further evaluation. Treatments typically include medications like anti-platelet drugs (such as aspirin), anticoagulants, or statins to lower blood cholesterol. In some cases where there is a physical cause, such as a narrowed artery, surgery may be recommended.
While there are many factors that contribute to an individual’s risk for TIA’s such as age, genetics and previous health issues, lifestyle is often one that can be improved. Risk of TIA’s may be lowered by eating healthy, exercising regularly, cutting out smoking or illicit drug usage, and maintaining healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels.