Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

TIA should be considered a warning sign of an impending stroke

Unfortunately, many people ignore stroke symptoms when they disappear and suffer a full blown stroke within 90 days to a year. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is no less dangerous than a stroke even when the symptoms disappear within 24 hours. They are sometimes called “mini-strokes,” but should really be called warning-strokes.

A TIA is caused by a clot. The only difference between a TIA and a full-blown stroke is that with the TIA, the blockage is temporary. The symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short period of time—less than five minutes—with the average lasting about a minute. While they do not cause permanent brain damage, they are a serious warning sign that a stroke may happen in the future and should not be ignored.

The greatest risk is in the first week, and that is why it is important to seek immediate medical attention.

Time lost is brain lost. Remember FAST:

F – Face drooping
A – Arm weakness
S – Speech difficulty
T – Time to call 911

You may also experience:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Your treatment plan may include medications, such as antiplatelet drugs or anticoagulants; procedures, such as a carotid angioplasty to open up a clogged artery; or preventive surgery, such as a carotid endarterectomy, to clear the carotid arteries of fatty deposits before another TIA or full-blown stroke occurs.

Call 911 if you believe you or someone else is experiencing a medical emergency.



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