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Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)


What is a Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA?

What are the symptoms?

What should you do if you experience a TIA?


What is a Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA?

A Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA as it is called for short, is the technical term for what is often commonly referred to as a "mini-stroke." It is an interruption, brief in duration, in the flow of blood to a portion of the brain. TIAs come on suddenly and usually last between two to fifteen minutes, with symptoms disappearing within 24 hours. Importantly, a TIA can be a warning sign that a stroke may be imminent. Getting swift medical attention is critical.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are similar to those of a stroke but are short in duration: blurring, dimming or loss of vision, change in speech, tingling around the mouth, numbness in an arm or leg, sudden severe headache. Several of these symptoms may be experienced simultaneously.

Many people ignore these symptoms, because they are often short-lived and they think that there must be some other explanation such as the heat, something they ate, or a migraine.

What should you do if you experience a TIA?

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, even if they pass quickly, do not deny them. It’s very important to get to a hospital as soon as possible. Early intervention can prevent the onset of stroke.

At the hospital, you will be examined to find treatable causes of your TIA. Through diagnostics such as blood tests, EKGs and CAT scans, trained medical personnel can often identify the source of the problem and can recommend drugs, therapies and life style changes that can prevent stroke and the suffering and debilitating effects that accompany it.

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