What Is a 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 their 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 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 for a major stroke.