Transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a “mini stroke”, occurs when a clot temporarily blocks a blood vessel. A TIA normally lasts a few minutes before the clot dislodges or dissolves, and blood supply returns. Because these episodes are short, it is unlikely that there is any permanent damage.

It may sound like a good thing that there is no lasting damage following a mini stroke, however, these are considered “warning strokes”, meaning a more serious stroke could be on the way. Even if your symptoms only last a few minutes and then seem to go away, always seek immediate medical help. A major stroke can cause serious long term health problems or even death.

Anyone Can Have TIA

According to the American Stroke Association, 9 – 17% of people who had TIA suffered from a stroke within 90 days. After reaching the age of 55, the risk of having a stroke doubles every 10 years. TIA and strokes have similar symptoms, but seeking medical attention immediately can help prevent a major stroke from happening.

The American Stroke Association states up to 60% of all stroke survivors develop cognitive problems within a year of their stroke, and 1 in 3 survivors develop dementia in 5 years. Survivors who undergo a cognitive impairment evaluation have a better chance of treating their memory and brain processing concerns early on.

Symptoms of TIA include:

  • Changes or loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Weakness, numbness, or paralysis in one side of the body
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble walking or lack of coordination
  • Seizures or fainting
  • Severe headache with no known cause

How Can TIA be Prevented?

Along with like symptoms, the causes of TIA are very similar to that of a stroke. Controllable risk factors, such as weight, diet, smoking, drinking alcohol in excess, and having high blood pressure or cholesterol can all be modified to reduce your risk of a stroke. Your age, family history, and gender are all uncontrollable risk factors, meaning you cannot change them.

Engaging in regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake can all help prevent TIA and a stroke.

Quick action is key when preventing permanent damage from a stroke. If you or a loved one begin showing signs of a stroke, call 911 or get to the emergency room immediately. If TIA is diagnosed, follow-ups with a neurologist will be recommended to assess the potential risk of a stroke in the future.

The Comprehensive Stroke Center at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo is nationally recognized as one of the best hospitals for stroke care. In addition to being named a “High Performing” hospital for stroke care in 2023-2024 by U.S. News & World Report, we are the only stroke center in Buffalo that has received the nation’s highest and most-demanding designation, the Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

Find a Specialist Near You
Call (716) 706-2112

Find a Specialist Near You
Call (716) 706-2112