Health and Stroke

What is a TIA or mini-stroke

Ever wondered what a mini stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) actually is?

Jan 3, 2022

Zeit Medical

What is a TIA?

What is a TIA? A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain, caused by a brief interruption in the flow of blood. TIAs are often called "mini-strokes" because they share many features with strokes and have a lot of the same underlying risk factors. A TIA can also be a warning sign of an impending stroke or other cardiovascular event. Here we will review what signs you should look out for, what it feels like to have one, and common causes of TIAs.

What Are the First Signs of a Mini Stroke?

TIA symptoms are similar to stroke signs, but they tend to pass quickly. A TIA can cause sudden numbness or weakness on one side of your body, difficulty speaking and understanding language, dizziness, loss of coordination and balance, and blurred vision. These symptoms typically last for less than five minutes but could last as long as 24 hours.

What Does a Mini-Stroke Feel Like?

What a TIA will feel like depends entirely on the area of the brain where blood flow is interrupted. Some people who experience a TIA say that it feels like an intense headache, neck pain, or eye pain. Others report feeling pressure in the skull, a sense of spinning, or lightheadedness. If you experience a series of TIAs, you may notice the reappearance of similar symptoms each time or completely different symptoms, depending on whether the blockage continues in the same area or not.

What Causes a Mini-Stroke?

A TIA is usually caused by a blood clot that briefly blocks one of the arteries. This brain injury occurs the same way as an ischemic stroke (the most common type of stroke), except that the vessel is only temporarily blocked. 

Risk Factors for Suffering a TIA

The risk of having a TIA can be higher for several reasons, some are not in our control while others are. These include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease or arterial disease
  • Smoking
  • Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
  • A previous TIA (once you've had one, you're more likely to have more)
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive weight or obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Excessive alcohol intake

If You Have a Mini-Stroke, What Should You Do?

If you think you are having a TIA, call 911 right away. Do not drive yourself to the hospital. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, even if they only last for a few minutes, it's important to seek medical attention. Prompt treatment can help prevent a more serious stroke from occurring. 

Many people who have a TIA make a full recovery with no lasting damage. However, it's important to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourself from having another TIA or stroke. Zeit Medical’s headband is designed to protect you from a stroke and can be worn after a TIA. 

Stay informed and proactive about your health by talking to your doctor about any concerns you have, making healthy lifestyle choices, and getting regular checkups.

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