A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is when blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a brief period of time. A person will have stroke-like symptoms which begin suddenly, and last only for a short time (from a few minutes to 1 - 2 hours), and go away completely within the first 24 hours.
Anyone can have a stroke no matter your age, race or gender. But, the chances of having a stroke increase if a person has certain risk factors, or criteria that can cause a stroke.
Controllable Risk Factors include - high Blood Pressure , Atrial Fibrillation, High Cholesterol, Diabetes, Atherosclerosis, Circulation Problems, Tobacco Use and Smoking , Alcohol Use, Physical Inactivity, Obesity
Uncontrollable Risk Factors include - age ( > 55 yrs), Gender (male), Race (african american), family history, Previous Stroke or TIA, Fibromuscular Dysplasia, Patent Foramen Ovale (Hole in the Heart).
The symptoms of TIA are the same as the symptoms of a stroke and include sudden onset of -
1. Abnormal feeling of movement (vertigo) or dizziness
2. Change in alertness (sleepiness, less responsive, unconscious, or in a coma)
3. Changes in feeling, including touch, pain, temperature, pressure, hearing, and taste
4. Confusion or loss of memory
5. Difficulty swallowing
6. Difficulty writing or reading
7. Inability to recognize objects or people
8. Lack of control over the bladder or bowels
9. Lack of coordination and balance, clumsiness, or trouble walking
10. Muscle weakness of the face, arm, or leg (usually only on one side of the body)
11. Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
12. Personality, mood, or emotional changes
13. Problems with eyesight (double vision, loss of all or part of vision)
14. Trouble speaking or understanding others who are speaking
A TIA is felt to be a warning sign that a true stroke may happen in the future if something is not done to prevent it.
If you have had symptoms of TIA as mentioned above, you should immediately consult with your doctor for a examination and complete evaluation. Conditions like High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and blood disorders should be diagnosed and treated.
Treatment may need medications like blood thinners (aspirin) , anti platelet agents (clopidogrel), and anti coagulants (heparin, Coumadin). In case of obstructive lesions in the arteries, surgical procedures like carotid endarterectomy, may be needed.
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