It sounds like an alien invasion but a Transient Ischemic Attack is something far more serious. A TIA Stroke is also known as a mini-stroke due to a clot obstructing blood flow to the brain temporarily. This is a serious warning sign of a bigger more lethal stroke so knowing the facts about a TIA stroke, like the causes, symptoms and tests for it could save your life.
Facts about TIA Stroke
A TIA stroke can happen when a blood clot in another part of the body breaks free and travels to the brain, temporarily blocking blood flow. Low blood flow through a narrow part of a major artery like the carotid artery that supplies blood to the brain can also cause a so-called mini-stroke or TIA. Smaller blood vessels to the brain that become constricted or clogged with plaque (a fatty substance) floating around in your blood stream can also cause one, too.
Important facts to remember are:
- Approximately 40% of people who have a TIA will have an actual stroke
- Almost half of all strokes occur within a few days of a TIA
- TIA symptoms are the same as a major stroke but less severe and temporary
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the main cause of a TIA. Other things that cause this kind of stroke are:
- High cholesterol (which leads to plaque in the blood stream)
- Narrow blood vessels that supply blood to the brain
- Blood Clots
A TIA stroke has the same symptoms as a regular stroke but they are a lot less severe and usually don’t last very long, maybe for only a few minutes. That’s why they are often times dismissed by people, which is unfortunate because a bigger more destructive stroke is sure to follow. Knowing the symptoms of a TIA stroke is critical to preventing that.
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness in one arm or leg that comes and goes
- Feeling dizzy for no reason
- Suddenly feeling fatigued
- Tingling throughout the body
- Confusion and/or temporary memory loss
- Difficulty speaking or garbled speech
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Vision problems
- A sudden increase in blood pressure
- An abrupt personality change
- Passing out
Someone experiencing a TIA stroke may only experience a few of these symptoms and only very briefly. No matter if you only have one symptom and it goes away quickly seek medical attention.
Related: Oranges: Can They Prevent a Stroke?
If you think you are having or had a TIA get to your doctor immediately for these tests:
- A mental assessment
- Eye range of motion
- Listening to blood flow through the neck to detect narrow blood vessels
- Heart rhythm examination
- Examining legs and arms for tone, strength and sensation
If you doctor diagnosis you with a TIA you will probably undergo:
- An EKG (electrocardiogram) to see if your heart beat is irregular
- CT Scan (computerized tomography) to check for bleeding in the brain
- CT Angiogram to evaluate your cerebral, carotid and vertebral arteries
- Blood tests that check your for anemia and/or a lack of platelets
- An echocardiogram to determine if the heart is the source of clots or debris in the blood
Any small sign of stroke even if it only lasts for a few minutes is reason for concern. A TIA stroke or TIA mini-stroke is a wake-up call that your health, and possibly your life, is in danger so seek medical attention and ward off an actual stroke.