If you’re serious about learning the signs and symptoms of a mini-stroke, then this is the article for you.
A mini-stroke also called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), is a “warning stroke” that happens when blood flow to your brain is blocked for a short time.
Although the symptoms are similar to those of a full-blown stroke, they usually last only a few minutes and don’t cause permanent damage.
TIAs are important because they often precede a full-blown stroke, which can lead to disability or even death.
Up to 40% of people who have a TIA will go on to have a stroke within one year, according to the National Stroke Association. (1)
What are the signs and symptoms of a mini-stroke?
The symptoms of a TIA come on suddenly and may include:
- Weakness or numbness in your face, arm, or leg (usually on one side of your body)
- Slurred or garbled speech
- Problems with vision in one or both eyes
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- A sudden, severe headache
Because the symptoms of a TIA are similar to those of a stroke, it’s important to call 9-1-1 or get to an emergency room right away if you experience any of them.
The symptoms of a TIA usually last only a few minutes, although in some people they may resolve within 24 hours.
Learn more: Signs of A Stroke You Should Never Ignore
What causes a mini-stroke?
A TIA is caused by a temporary blockage of blood flow to your brain.
This can be due to a clot that forms in one of the arteries that supply blood to your brain.
It can also be caused by a piece of plaque that breaks off from a larger blockage in an artery and lodges in a smaller blood vessel. (5)
Risk factors for a mini-stroke
The same risk factors that can lead to a stroke can also cause a TIA.
These include: (6)
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Being overweight or obese
- A family history of stroke or TIA
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive alcohol use
Even if you have one or more of these risk factors, there’s no guarantee you’ll have a TIA or a stroke.
But if you do have a TIA, it’s important to take steps to lower your risk of having a full-blown stroke.
How to avoid stroke after TIA?
If you’ve had a TIA, your risk of having a stroke is higher than if you’ve never had one.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to lower your risk.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), these include: (7)
- Taking measures to control your blood pressure
- Quitting smoking
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Limiting your alcohol intake
- Managing any other health conditions you have, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and atrial fibrillation
A mini-stroke is a warning sign that you may be at risk for a full-blown stroke.
If you have any of the symptoms of a TIA, it’s important to get to an emergency room right away.
You can lower your risk of having a stroke by taking measures to control your blood pressure, quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.