Transient Ischemic Attack
A transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a ministroke or warning stroke, causes symptoms similar to those of a stroke. The difference is that TIAs don’t cause permanent brain damage, and they often last less than one hour. But they can last up to 24 hours. About one-third of people will suffer a stroke in the year after a TIA.
TIAs happen when a blood clot or artery spasm suddenly blocks or closes off an artery briefly. This stops blood from reaching a part of the brain for a short period of time. Different parts of the brain do different things. So TIA symptoms depend on what part of the brain is affected. For example, a person can have weakness in his or her arm without the real problem being in the arm. The problem can be a lack of blood flow to the part of the brain that is responsible for arm strength.
Here are symptoms to watch for:
- Sudden numbness in your face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion
- Sudden trouble seeing, talking, or understanding
- Sudden trouble with balance or walking
- Sudden dizziness or loss of coordination
- Sudden severe headache you can’t explain
- Loss of consciousness or seizure
If you think you are having a TIA, get medical help right away. Recognizing symptoms of a TIA and getting treatment right away will reduce the risk of a major stroke.