Transient Ischemic Attacks
A transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes called a mini-stroke, starts just like a stroke but then resolves leaving no noticeable symptoms or deficits. It occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is briefly interrupted.
Most symptoms of a TIA disappear within an hour, although they may persist for up to 24 hours. Symptoms can include: numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; confusion or difficulty in talking or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; and difficulty with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination.
There is no way to tell whether symptoms will be just a TIA or persist and lead to death or disability. You should assume that all stroke symptoms signal an emergency and should not wait to see if they go away. Get medical help immediately. A prompt evaluation (within 60 minutes) is necessary to identify the cause of the TIA and determine appropriate therapy.
Depending on a patient's medical history and the results of a medical examination, the doctor may recommend drug therapy or surgery to reduce the risk of stroke in people who have had a TIA. The use of
aspirin and other antiplatelet agents is a standard treatment for patients at risk for stroke.
Anticoagulants may be prescribed for people with atrial fibrillation (irregular beating of the heart).
The occurrence of a TIA is a warning that the person is at risk for a more serious and debilitating stroke. Of the approximately 50,000 Americans who have a TIA each year, about one-third will have an acute stroke sometime in the future. The addition of other risk factors compounds a person's risk for a recurrent stroke.
Many strokes can be prevented by heeding the warning signs of TIAs and treating underlying risk factors. The most important treatable factors linked to TIAs and stroke are high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, heart disease, carotid artery disease, diabetes, and heavy use of alcohol. Drug therapy and lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining healthy weight, exercising, and enrolling in smoking and alcohol cessation programs can also reduce these factors.
Management of Primary Stroke Risk Factors
Preventing Another Stroke
Recurrent stroke is frequent. About 25 percent of people who recover from their first stroke will have another stroke within 5 years.
Recurrent stroke is a major contributor to stroke disability and death, with the risk of severe disability or death from stroke increasing with each stroke recurrence. The risk of a recurrent stroke is greatest right after a stroke, with the risk decreasing with time.
About 3 percent of stroke patients will have another stroke within 30 days of their first stroke and one-third of recurrent strokes take place within 2 years of the first stroke.
Conventional Treatments for Stroke
Use of Antiplatelet Agents after Transient Ischemic Attack
(TIA) and Stroke
Source: National Institutes
Caution: If you suspect a
stroke, seek emergency medical treatment immediately. Time is of