What is it?

A transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a "mini-stroke" is caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain (ischemia).
During a TIA, one of the blood vessels that supply your brain with oxygen-rich blood becomes blocked. This blockage is usually caused by a blood clot that has formed elsewhere in your body and travelled to your brain (embolism), although it can also be caused by pieces of fatty material (plaque) or air bubbles.
This can cause sudden symptoms similar to those of a stroke. However, In TIAs, the blockage quickly resolves and your brain's blood supply returns to normal before there's any significant damage, so the effects of a TIA often only last for a few minutes or hours and fully resolve within 24 hours.
Knowing the signs of a TIA can help you get the treatment you need as early as possible. It is important to know that a TIA puts you at risk for a full stroke, so early evaluation and treatment are essential.

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Signs & symptoms

The most common symptoms of a TIA are:
* difficulty speaking or understanding language, slurred speech
* vision changes – double vision, temporary blindness, or visual deficits
* confusion
* weakness or numbness on just the right or left side of the face or body
* an altered level of consciousness
* balance issues
* dizziness and fainting
* an abnormal sense of taste or smell

Diagnosis

The initial clinical evaluation of a suspected TIA involves obtaining a history and physical exam, including a neurological exam.
Several additional tests may be carried out:
* ECG - can detect abnormal heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation, which can increase your risk of TIAs or stroke.
Echocardiogram – an ultrasound of your heart to look for * blood clots that might travel to your brain.
* Carotid ultrasound - can show if there is narrowing or blockages in the neck arteries leading to your brain, which also increases the risk for TIA's or a stroke
* head CT or MRI scans.

Treatment

Although the symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) resolve in a few minutes or hours without any specific treatment, you will need treatment to help prevent another TIA or a full stroke occurring in the future. Treatment will depend on your individual circumstances and the cause for your TIA, and may include:
* lifestyle modifications such as smoking cessation, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet
* medical therapy: blood thinners, and medications to controll high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
* surgery – in cases of carotid artery disease leading to your TIA, an invasive procedure to open the narrowed artery may be suggested.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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