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What is a mini-stroke?

A mini-stroke is when a person has the signs of a stroke, which then completely go away. Most mini-strokes get better within a few minutes, although they can last several hours.

A “mini-stroke,”or transient ischemic attack (TIA), occurs when blood flow is temporarily cut off to the brain, causing stroke-like symptoms. In a healthy person, blood travels to the brain through arteries in the neck called the carotid arteries. If these arteries are blocked by the build-up of a substance called plaque, a transient ischemic attack or stroke can result.

TIA symptoms can include any of the following:

  • numbness or paralysis (usually on one side of the body)
  • difficulty speaking or understanding
  • temporarily dimmed or blurred vision

These symptoms resolve within a few minutes or hours (usually within 24 hours), but they are your body’s warning to contact your doctor right away. More than a third of people who experience a TIA will later have a stroke. A TIA can therefore serve as a warning—and an opportunity to identify carotid artery disease before a more serious medical event takes place.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.