What is a Transient Ischemic Attack?

Transient Ischemic Attack, often referred to as a mini-stroke, occurs due to a temporary clotting of blood in the brain. The difference between TIA and a proper stroke is that TIA is temporary and the blood clot usually dissolves in time. This also lasts for less than five minutes and usually leaves the brain undamaged, though there might be temporary side effects.

Symptoms

The ordinary symptoms of a stroke also applies to a Transient Ischemic Attack. It is imperative to immediately contact emergency services and get a check-up done. This is important because a mini-stroke often is a warning for a permanent and bigger stroke that can lead to many problems and can even be fatal. The more severe the symptoms, the greater the chance of damage or another attack.

The symptoms that someone might be experience TIA are:

Causes

The most common cause of a Transient Ischemic Attack is a build-up of cholesterol in the artery, also known as arteriosclerosis. This prevents the supply of oxygen-carrying blood to the brain, thus causing a mini stroke. It can also be caused by a blood clot or thrombus, originating from the heart.

TIA is connected to other diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. A patient suffering from these diseases has a higher chance of getting a mini-stroke. The risk of a stroke also increases if the person is 55 years or older and / or has a family history of strokes. Men are also more likely to suffer from this disease than women.

Treatment

The treatment for TIA varies from case to case, depending on the severity of the attack and the reason behind it. Anti-platelet drugs and anti-coagulants are the most commonly used method of treatment for this disease. Surgical procedures like carotid endarterectomy and angioplasty can also be advised in order to prevent a future attack.

Prevention is by far the safest way to deal with potential strokes. There are no clear-cut ways to prevent TIA from occurring, but some general indicators can go a long way in preventing it. Avoiding smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising, keeping blood pressure and blood sugar levels in check, keeping alcohol consumption within acceptable limits, and cutting down on fatty food can help to reduce the chances of a stroke.

It is important to note that it is not possible to distinguish between TIA and permanent stroke, so always take emergency steps and get a check up done when the symptoms are experienced.