A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is when blood supply to a part of the brain stops for a short period of time. It is often called a mini stroke but it should be taken as a warning sign for future strokes, which can be fatal, if not prevented. The blockage in TIA quickly breaks and dissolves, thus there is no death of brain tissue. TIA symptoms are similar to those of true strokes and can manifest for up to 24 hours, but typically last for one to two hours only.
Causes of Transient Ischemic Attack
Loss of blood flow to any part of the brain can be caused by different factors, but mainly due to damage to the blood vessels. Some of these include:
- Blood clot in the artery of the brain
- Blood clot that is transmitted from one place in the body to the brain
- Blood vessel injury
- Narrowing of blood vessel leading to the brain or in the brain (atherosclerosis)
Risk Factors for Transient Ischemic Attack
There are several risk factors for TIAs, such as
- Hypertension, the number one risk factor
- High cholesterol
- Atrial fibrillation
- Family history of stroke
Symptoms of Transient Ischemic Attack
Symptoms of TIAs begin abruptly but last from a few minutes to a whole day to disappear. TIA symptoms and stroke symptoms are highly similar, thus it is necessary to seek medical attention right away.
- Confusion or loss of memory
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Drooping face, especially on one side
- Lack of coordination and balance
- Lack of control over bladder and bowels
- Trouble walking
- Difficulty swallowing, reading or writing
- Difficulty saying or understanding words
- Loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Inability to recognize people or objects
- Less responsive or unconsciousness
- Changes in mood or personality
Treatment for Transient Ischemic Attack
If one is suspected of TIA, immediately call emergency medical assistance, as it may actually be symptoms for true stroke. It is better to be sure and recognize the symptoms, rather than delay and worsen the damage. The main purpose of early diagnosis of TIA is to prevent a stroke. For those with TIA, treatment will be dependent on the cause.
- If due to hypertension, blood disorders, heart disease or diabetes, treatment will be given as needed.
- Blood thinners may be prescribed to reduce blood clotting.
No home remedy can match treatment for TIA, however, recognition can save someone’s life. As a possible warning for future stroke, proper treatment is necessary to reduce chances of stroke. Thus, registering in First Aid Training and CPR courses can just help recognize symptoms of medical emergencies, such as transient ischemic attack and strokes.