Transient Ischemic Attack

Overview of Transient Ischemic Attack

A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)  is a mini-stroke, caused when a part of the brain temporarily doesn’t get enough blood supply. It has symptoms similar to a stroke but last only for a few minutes. Normally it doesn’t cause any serious aftereffects but it should be seriously taken as a warning sign of stroke.
1 in 3 people who have Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), actually have as troke within a six-month span. It causes disruption in speech and vision and one can feel numbness or weakness in the face and limbs.

Signs and Symptoms of Transient Ischemic Attack

The signs and symptoms of this attack are similar to those found in the early stages of stroke. This attack lasts only for a few minutes and completely resolves within 24 hours. These fleeting symptoms usually include:

  • Language disorder
  • Dysphasia
  • Changes in vision
  • Feeling confused
  • Imbalance
  • A feeling of tingling, numbness in limbs
  • Dizziness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Severe headaches
  • You might also feel numbness in joints or one either side of the face. This is determined by the location of the blood clot formed in the brain.

 Contact your healthcare immediately if you feel these symptoms:

  • Dysphasia - some people, after a stroke, suffer from speech issues. After a ministroke one may have no recollection of it happening. Some other symptoms include:
  1. Trouble saying a certain word
  2. Trouble in understanding others

 Sometimes, Dysphasia is the only symptom that indicates a mini-stroke. His speech impairment shows a blood clot formation that is causing a blockage in the brain.

  • Blindness in one eye temporarily - sometimes, a mini-stroke can lead to a temporary visual impairment known as Amaurosis Fugas. This causes a sudden blurred or dimmed vision in one eye. This condition can last for a few seconds to a few minutes.

Exposure to bright light can further aggravate this condition. You may face difficulty in reading writings on white paper.

Types of Transient Ischemic Attack

Causes of Transient Ischemic Attack

 The possible causes of this mini-attack are:

  • Blood clots – these are the leading cause of mini-strokes.
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis – This is the plaque buildup that causes narrowing down of the arteries in and around the brain
  • Carotid artery disease – this occurs when the internal or external carotid artery of the brain is blocked. This is mostly caused by atherosclerosis.
  • Diabetes
  • Increased levels of cholesterol

How long does this stroke last?

This mini-stroke can be as brief as for only 1 minute. In most cases, this resolves completely within the first 24 hours.
It has fleeting symptoms and usually disappears by the time you reach your doctor.


Risk Factors of Transient Ischemic Attack

The possible risk factors for this attack are:

  • Elevated levels of blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Dizziness
  • Smoking for longer period of times
  • Obesity
  • Atrial fibrillation



Lifestyle changes are the best way to prevent transient ischemic attack. Some preventions can be:

  • Maintaining a healthy well balanced and low-cholesterol diet
  • Add some little movement or exercise in your daily life
  • Quit smoking
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Keeping a track of your sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes


Although the mini-stroke isn’t fatal, it can be a warning sign of a stroke and can lead to brain damage. Your doctor might ask you to undergo these tests:

All these tests help the doctor analyze the heart and brain condition.

Treatment of Transient Ischemic Attack | When to Consult a Doctor

The treatment of mini-strokes focuses on identifying the abnormalities that caused the attack in the first place. You doctor can prescribe you medication including:

  • Antiplatelet drugs – these drugs prevent the formation of blood clots by targeting the platelets.
  • Anticoagulants – these drugs also prevent clots by targeting proteins.

The surgical procedure includes:

Carotid endarterectomy – in this procedure the doctor cleans the arteries of any fatty deposits and plaques.

The most important treatment is Lifestyle changes.

To prevent any further damage to the body, your doctor would ask you to make certain lifestyle changes. These include

  • Exercising frequently
  • Maintaining a well-balanced weight
  • Consuming a proper amount of fruits and vegetables
  • Limiting the consumption of fried and sugary stuff
  • Getting proper sleep
  • Reducing your stress levels

Maintaining good levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure 


In case you exhibit any concerning signs and symptoms for TIA, consult a medical professional as soon as possible.