Transient Ischemic Attack: Symptoms, Causes, & Prevention

Sonali Kapoor

, Treatments

The transient ischemic attack is also known as a mini-stroke. From head to toe, your blood delivers oxygen to every part of your body. Your cells need it to survive. If your blood flow gets blocked anywhere, it can bring big trouble. One serious effect is a problem called a Transient ischemic attack, or TIA for short.


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What is Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)?


When blood flow to part of the brain stops for a short period of time, also called a transient ischemic attack (TIA). It generally does not cause permanent brain damage. It requires immediate medical attention to distinguish from an actual stroke.


What are the Symptoms of Transient Ischemic Attack?


  • Weakness


  • Numbness


  • Paralysis one side of your body


  • Slurred or garbled speech


  • Blindness


  • Dizziness


  • A headache


What are the Causes of Transient Ischemic Attack?


These are some factor which can cause TIA:


1. A transient ischemic attack is the most common type of stroke. In an ischemic stroke, a clot blocks the blood supply to part of your brain.


2. The underlying cause of a TIA often is a buildup of cholesterol-containing fatty deposits called plaques in an artery or one of its branches that supplies oxygen and nutrients to your brain.


3. Plaques can decrease the blood flow through an artery or lead to the development of a clot. A blood clot moving to an artery it supplies blood to your brain from another part of your body.


Risk Factors of Transient Ischemic Attack?


Risk factors which you can’t change:


1.Family history – Your risk may be greater if one of your family members had a TIA or a stroke.


2.Age – Your risk increases as you get older, especially after age 50.


3.Sex – Men have a slightly higher likelihood of a TIA and a stroke, but more than half of deaths from strokes happen in women.


4. Advance Transient ischemic attack – If you’ve one or more TIAs, you’re 10 times more likely to have a stroke.


5. Sickle cell disease – Sickle cell anemia, a stroke is a frequent complication of this inherited disorder. It carries less oxygen and also tends to get stuck in artery walls, hampering blood flow to the brain.


Risk factors which you can change:



1. High Blood Pressure- The risk of a stroke begins to increase at blood pressure readings higher than 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).


2. High Cholesterol- Eating less cholesterol and fat, especially saturated fat and trans fat, may reduce the plaques in your arteries.


3. Diabetes- Diabetes increases the severity of atherosclerosis narrowing of the arteries due to the accumulation of fatty deposits and the speed with which it develops.


4.Excess Weight- A body mass index of 25 or higher and a waist circumference greater than 35 inches in women or 40 inches in men increase risk.


What are the Preventions of TIA?


1. Don’t Smoke- Stop smoking, it reduces the risk of a TIA or a stroke.


2. Limit Sodium- If you have high blood pressure, avoid salty foods. Avoiding salt may not prevent hypertension, but excess sodium may increase blood pressure.


3. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables- These foods contain nutrients such as potassium, folate, and antioxidants, which may protect against a TIA or a stroke.


4. Limit Alcohol Intake- Drink alcohol in moderation. The suggested limit is no more than one drink daily for women and two a day for men.


5. Maintain a Healthy Weight- Being overweight contributes to other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.


6. Limit Fat and Cholesterol- Cutting back on cholesterol and fat, especially saturated fat and trans fat, in your diet may reduce the buildup of plaques in your arteries.


7. Control Diabetes- You have to manage diabetes and high blood pressure with diet, exercise, weight control.


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1. Physical examination and Tests


The risk factors of a stroke, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes and high levels of the amino acid homocysteine. Your doctor may also use a stethoscope to listen for a whooshing sound over your arteries that may indicate atherosclerosis.


2. Carotid ultrasonography


A device like a wand (transducer) sends high-frequency sound waves into your neck. After the sound waves pass through your tissue and back, your doctor will analyze images on a screen to look for narrowing or clotting in the carotid arteries.


3. Computerized tomography (CT) scanning


CT scanning of your head uses X-ray flash to assemble a composite 3-D look at your brain.


4. Computerized tomography angiography (CTA) scanning


Scanning of the head may be used to noninvasively evaluate the arteries in your neck and brain. CTA scanning uses X-rays similar to a standard CT scan of the head but may also involve the injection of a contrast material into a blood vessel.


5. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)


In this procedure, a strong magnetic field is used that can generate a composite 3D view of your brain.


6. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)


This is a method of evaluating the arteries in your neck and brain. It uses a strong magnetic field.


7. Echocardiography


Echocardiography is a test that uses sound waves to produce live images of your heart. The image is an echocardiogram. This test allows your doctor to monitor how your heart is functioning.


8. Arteriography

Arteriogram is a procedure that produces an image of your arteries. During the procedure, your doctor will use contrast material and X-rays to observe the flow of blood through your arteries. This procedure is known as an angiogram.


Treatment of Transient Ischemic Attack?


There are few ways to treat TIA:


Through Medications


Anti-platelet drugs- These medications make your platelets, one of the circulating blood cell types, less likely to stick together. When blood vessels are injured, sticky platelets begin to form clots, a process completed by clotting proteins in blood plasma.


Anticoagulants– This drug includes heparin and warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven). They affect clotting-system proteins instead of platelet function. Heparin is used for a short time and warfarin over a longer term. These drugs require careful monitoring.


Thrombolytic agents– In many cases, thrombolytic therapy is used to treat an ongoing stroke by dissolving blood clots that are blocking blood flow to the brain.


Surgery– This surgery clears carotid arteries of fatty deposits before another TIA or stroke can occur. An incision is made to open the artery, the plaques are removed, and the artery is closed.




In the above article, we have discussed a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), It’s symptoms, causes, risk factors, treatment, and preventions. The best way to treat your TIA is medications and surgery. Take proper medicines and take a healthy diet, avoid intake of salt. If you feel any of the above symptoms then consult your doctor as soon as possible.


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