Transient Ischemic Attack
Pronounced: trans-EE-ent isk-EE-mik uh-tak
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a brief problem of the brain. It is due to a shortage of blood and oxygen. It is also called a mini-stroke.
TIA is a serious problem. It is a warning of a future stroke.
Blood and oxygen reach the brain through blood vessels in the neck. The blood then passes through blood vessels in the brain. A TIA is when blood flow is too low. It may be due to a narrowing or blockage.
Narrowing may happen with:
Blood vessels can also become blocked by a clot or clump in the blood. This may be from:
TIAs are more common in men and older adults.
Some long-term problems can impact your blood vessels. These problems may raise your TIA risk:
TIAs are more common in men than women in younger age groups. They are also more common in people age 45 years or older, with the highest risk between ages 60-80 years. Other factors that increase your chance for TIA include:
TIA symptoms happen quickly. The ones you have depend on the part of the brain that is affected. Symptoms are like those of a stroke. You will need medical care right away.
You may have:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor will check your blood pressure and nervous system. The main goal of tests or questions will be to find out your stroke risk.
You may have:
A TIA places you at greater risk of a stroke. The risk is highest in the first week after your TIA. You will need to work to lower your risk. This can be done with lifestyle changes, medicine, and surgery.
If you smoke, you will have to quit. Talk with your doctor about programs that may help.
The doctor may also advise medicines to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. This will help lower these risks.
The doctor may also advise:
If you have a blockage in the artery in your neck, you may have:
These surgeries have risks. Talk with your doctor about your options.
Treatment of Other Conditions
If the cause of the TIA is a treatable, it must be treated right away. These are health problems such as:
To reduce your chance of TIA or stroke:
American Heart Association
National Stroke Association
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery
Heart & Stroke Foundation
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Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 6/14/2018
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