What is Transient Ischemic Attack?

Transient Ischemic Attack-TIA

Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a short episode of neurologic dysfunction that lasts for a few minutes. It results from a disruption in the blood flow to the brain. Carotid arteries are the blood vessels responsible for supplying nutrients and oxygen to the brain. A temporary blockage in coronary arteries due to a blood clot can lead to transient ischemic attack (TIA). Since the blockage is short-term, the duration of the attack is short, and often the brain does not suffer from any permanent damage. 

Causes of Transient Ischemic Attack

People suffering from carotid artery disease are more likely to suffer from a transient ischemic attack (TIA). In this disease, there is a buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis) on the vessel wall. The plaque formation leads to narrowing of the carotid blood vessels, triggering the buildup of a blood clot. Moreover, compromised vascular health in other body parts can also produce blood clots, which may travel to a carotid artery, resulting in its blockage. 

The causes behind compromised vascular health and plaque formation are:

  • Obesity 
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes 
  • High blood pressure 
  • High cholesterol levels 
  • Excessive intake of alcohol 

Symptoms of Transient Ischemic Attack-TIA

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) presents itself with stroke-like symptoms, such as: 

  • Unilateral weakness, numbness, or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg. 
  • Severe headache 
  • Loss of coordination
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Confusion
  • Altered level of consciousness 
  • Loss of vision in one or both eyes, or double vision 
  • Difficulty speaking 
  • Difficulty understanding other people
  • Slurring or garbling 
  • Unconsciousness

The symptoms of transient ischemic attack (TIA) usually resolve within an hour. Sometimes, it may take 24 hours for the symptoms to go away. If you ever develop any of the symptoms mentioned above for a short time, you may be suffering from a mini-stroke, which is another name for transient ischemic attack (TIA). Visit a neurologist as soon as possible to prevent the progression of this mini-stroke into a full-blown stroke. 

Treatment of TIA

Since there is a risk of stroke after the transient ischemic attack (TIA), it is necessary to get treated. 

The treatment options are: 

  • Medication: Anticoagulants and antiplatelets are prescribed to prevent blood clots formation. 
  • Surgery: Carotid endarterectomy is performed to remove the plaque formed in carotid arteries. 
  • Angioplasty: Angioplasty or stenting is done to open the blocked vessel. 

Prevention of Transient Ischemic Attack-TIA

You can prevent the transient ischemic attack (TIA) by maintaining the health of your blood vessels by following these instructions: 

  • Start eating healthy, food items with low fat and high fiber content should be preferred 
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and maintain a balanced diet
  • Exercising on a regular basis is also an effective measure for the prevention of transient ischemic attacks
  • Quit smoking and alcohol intake 

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a medical emergency that you must not ignore. When you or anyone you know go through a transient ischemic attack, you should seek immediate medical care because it can lead to a stroke if it is left untreated. 

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