A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is often called a "mini stroke" because it produces similar symptoms to a stroke, however, the symptoms usually only last a few minutes. It occurs when blood flow to the brain is briefly interrupted or blocked (often by a clot). Although most symptoms of TIA disappear within an hour, TIAs can be a warning sign of impending stroke. About one in three people who experience a TIA eventually experience a stroke as well. If you have onset of TIA or stroke symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately as you cannot tell the difference between the two. Even if your symptoms go away or you only have mild stroke symptoms, you need to seek medical assistance. Treatment can help prevent a future stroke!
TIA symptoms can include:
Numbness or tingling particularly on one side of the body
Weakness on one side of the body
Loss of balance
Bowel or Bladder Incontinence
Risk factors for transient ischemic attack include:
High blood pressure
TIAs or mini strokes may or may not show up on brain imaging studies, but it is still important to discuss the symptoms with your neurologist even if imaging studies are negative. Some individuals are prone to multiple TIAs which over time can be debilitating and cause cognitive decline. Do not be fooled by the term "mini stroke" as this condition is serious and future TIAs need to be prevented if possible. Some ways to help prevent TIAs may include lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, ceasing to smoke, diabetes management, exercising regularly, and seeing a physician on a regular basis.
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