Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is also called a mini-stroke or warning stroke. You may have stroke-like symptoms but they will go away and you'll have no permanent damage. If you learn the symptoms of TIA and seek prompt treatment, you may be able to reduce your risk of stroke occurring later. TIAs happens as a result of a blot clot that clogs an artery in your brain, but unlike a stroke, the symptoms last usually about a minute and then they go away. It is very important to know what the symptoms of a TIA are like and to seek help from your doctor if you have any of them. TIAs can occur just days or many months before a stroke. The symptoms are a sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg on one side of your body; sudden confusion; not being able to speak or understand someone else; vision problems in one or both eyes; trouble walking, dizziness or a sudden severe headache. If you have theses symptoms, call 911 to get immediate medical help.

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  • 1 Answer
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    ARealAge answered
    Having a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a mini-stroke or a warning stroke, raises your risk for a full stroke. This is especially true in the first few days after a TIA. If you've had a TIA, your doctor will prescribe treatment and lifestyle changes to prevent a future stroke. After a TIA, see your doctor regularly for follow ups, to be sure your medications and other treatments are working, and to check for any warning signs of a stroke. Get emergency help immediately if you have any of these signs of a stroke:
    • Sudden numbness or muscle weakness, especially on one side of your body
    • Confusion or problems with understanding
    • Trouble speaking or seeing
    • Sudden, severe headache
    • Dizziness or loss of balance
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    ADavid Clark, MD, Neurology, answered on behalf of Menorah Medical Center
    A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is like a “near miss.” Strokes are caused by loss of blood flow to the brain from plaque build-up in brain arteries, or a blood clot formed elsewhere that lodges in the artery flowing into the head. Lost blood flow causes stroke symptoms with permanent damage if the artery remains blocked. If blood flow returns quickly symptoms dissipate. When the body restores blood flow without brain damage this is a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. It increases the risk of having a future stroke.
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    A Natalia Rost, MD, Neurology, answered
    A transient ischemic attack (TIA) usually last several minutes to hours and is caused by partial or temporary obstruction of an artery by the same process that causes an ischemic stroke.

    Sometimes a TIA lasts longer, and in such cases there is more significant potential for brain damage even if the TIA never progresses to a full-blown stroke with persistent symptoms. If the TIA's symptoms last as long as 24 hours, it technically becomes a full-blown stroke, and it most likely has caused some type of brain infarction, or tissue death. However, advances in brain imaging have revealed that brain infarction may occur even in TIAs that end much earlier -- and even if symptoms have abated. In these cases, the infarcted tissue is in a "silent" area of the brain, so that damage there produces no symptoms. Or the damaged area may be adjacent to a part of the brain that produced symptoms following the initial injury, but then recovered, so that the symptoms disappeared.
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    A Natalia Rost, MD, Neurology, answered
    As many as 10% to 20% of people who have a transient ischemic attack (TIA), will suffer a full-blown stroke within 90 days, with the greatest risk in the first week. That's why it's so important to seek medical help promptly because the fact that symptoms have disappeared does not mean that the danger is over.

    A study in The Lancet underscored the importance of prompt treatment of TIA. In the study, patients who were promptly diagnosed and began preventive treatments (drugs to prevent clotting and to lower blood pressure and cholesterol) within one day of a TIA were 80% less likely to have a stroke within the next 90 days as patients who did not start preventive treatments until three weeks after a TIA.

    The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) stroke guidelines, which provide direction for physicians throughout the nation, reflect the urgent need to determine the cause of a TIA so that damage can be minimized. The AHA/ASA consensus is that someone with a TIA should be evaluated with MRI within 24 hours and hospitalized if found to be at high risk for an impending stroke.
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    A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a stroke-like attack that lasts for a few minutes to an hour and can involve one or more of these symptoms:
    • Weakness, numbness, or tingling on one side of the body
    • Inability to speak clearly
    • Inability to control the movement of an arm or leg
    • Losing vision in one eye
    Don't ignore these symptoms, even if they go away quickly -- see a doctor. A TIA is a warning sign of carotid artery disease and a possible stroke in the future.
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    A Egilius Spierings, MD, Neurology, answered
    A migraine attack can consist of an aura only, with no subsequent headache. This type of migraine is more common in older people and is sometimes confused with a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a "mini-stroke," which often is the first sign of an impending stroke. TIAs occur when a blood clot temporarily interrupts blood flow through one of the smaller arteries in the brain. Symptoms may include weakness on one side of the body or blindness in one eye or one side of the visual field. If you've suffered from migraine throughout your life, remember these similarities, because you may be able to avoid expensive and sometimes risky tests for TIAs. But if in doubt, err on the side of caution.
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  • 12 Answers
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    AAudrey K. Chun, MD, Geriatric Medicine, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health System
    A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is an episode in which a person has stroke-like symptoms that last only a short time and do not do permanent damage. TIAs are often, however, a signal that a full stroke is imminent, with 4% to 10% of people having a stroke within 48 hours of a TIA.
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    ASteven Meyers, MD, Diagnostic Radiology, answered on behalf of NorthShore University HealthSystem
    Mini-stroke is a term used by many people to refer what is more properly termed a TIA or transient ischemic attack. A TIA is an episode of neurologic impairment due to a temporary interruption of blood flow to the brain which is either not severe enough or long enough to cause permanent brain damage. TIA's typically last several minutes up to 1 hour.

    TIA's are very important to identify and treat as they can be a warning that a large stroke may occur in the near future
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    Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) are often warning signs that a person is at risk for a more serious and debilitating stroke. About one-third of those who have a TIA will have an acute stroke sometime in the future. Many strokes can be prevented by heeding the warning signs of TIAs and treating the underlying risk factors. The most important treatable factors linked to TIAs and strokes are high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, heart disease, carotid artery disease, diabetes, and heavy use of alcohol. Medical help is available to reduce and eliminate these factors. Lifestyle changes, such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining healthy weight, exercising, and enrolling in smoking and alcohol cessation programs can also reduce these factors.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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    Since there is no way to differentiate between the symptoms of a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or an acute stroke, patients should assume that all stroke-like symptoms signal an emergency and should not wait to see if they go away. A prompt evaluation (within 60 minutes) is necessary to identify the cause of the TIA and determine appropriate therapy. Depending on a patient's medical history and the results of a medical examination, the doctor may recommend drug therapy or surgery to reduce the risk of stroke in people who have had a TIA. The use of antiplatelet agents, particularly aspirin, is a standard treatment for patients at risk for stroke. People with atrial fibrillation (irregular beating of the heart) may be prescribed anticoagulants.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.