A TIA is often called a “mini stroke” this is where brain function is temporarily lost due to the short disruption of blood reaching the brain. Your brain controls everything your body does, including your movement, speech, vision and emotions. So disruption of blood supply to the brain can temporarily affect any of these functions. A transient ischemic attack can last for around 24 hours, any longer, and this usually indicates a full stroke has occurred.
A TIA doesn't cause any permanent disability, although it may cause irreversible damage to your brain which may only be noticeable on a brain scan. However, if the blood supply to your brain becomes permanently blocked, it will cause a full-blown ischemic stroke
Facts about Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA’s)
- Approximately half of the people who experience a TIA are unaware of the event.
- Up to a 25% people who suffer a TIA die within one year.
- Up to 17% of all TIAs are followed by a stroke; most of them within 30 days of their occurrence.
- Approximately 15% of all strokes are preceded by a TIA.
Symptoms of a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
The bullet points below outline some of the common symptoms seen in people who have had a TIA.
- Numbness, weakness or clumsiness on one side of the body, for example in an arm, leg or your face, conditions such as foot drop can occur.
- Difficulty speaking
- Sudden loss of sight in one eye or blurred vision
A well recommended and recognised way of identifying if someone is having a TIA or a stroke is to use the F.A.S.T (face-arms-speech) test. The F.A.S.T technique has been, and still is being promoted through the media, The Department of Health are running a 3 year campaign to help promote the awareness of stroke.
If you or someone has any of these symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention. Even though the symptoms of a TIA may only last a few minutes, someone who has a TIA could be at immediate risk of having a more severe form of stroke.
Treatments for a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
Transient Ischemic Attacks have similar treatments to that of a full blown ischemic stroke, but the main aim of TIA treatments are to prevent a full stroke occurring. Doctors will advise you on what you can do to prevent this happening. These can range from self help methods like stop smoking to various prescription drugs like Aspirin and Warfarin and finally to surgery (a carotid endarterectomy).
People at a higher risk of a full stroke will receive an MRI scan within 24 hours of having a TIA. Those at a lower risk will be scanned within seven days. (A patient's risk is determined by their age, blood pressure, overall health and whether they have diabetes.)
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* The information on this page has been compiled from various sources. It does not cover all physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read on this page.