Clinical Services

Transient Ischemic Attack

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a brief blockage of blood flow to the brain that does not result in permanent damage. Often referred to as a mini-stroke, a TIA can signal individuals who may be at an increased risk for a real stroke in the near future. 

While a transient ischemic attack is fairly harmless to a person’s long-term health, it should still be regarded with concern by both patients as well as their physician. TIAs should serve as a serious warning for future cardiovascular problems.

Symptoms of Transient Ischemic Attacks

Similar to signs and symptoms of a stroke, TIAs are likely to include the sudden onset of:

  • Slurred or garbled speech
  • Instability and loss of balance
  • Numbness or paralysis of one side of the face
  • Numbness or paralysis of the arm or leg on one side of the body
  • Severe headache
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred or double vision

Transient ischemic attacks typically last for only a few minutes, and symptoms should disappear completely within the hour. Even if you believe your symptoms to be the result of a TIA rather than a full stroke, it is always best to seek medical attention as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

As stated, transient ischemic attacks are a clear warning sign of a looming stroke, which often occurs in the days or weeks following a TIA. Consulting Dr. Seth Tuwiner for preventative strategies and treatment is the ideal solution to a TIA.

What Are the Risk Factors for TIAs?

Individuals have a certain amount of control over their risk for a transient ischemic attack, though not every factor can be avoided or managed. For example, the following characteristics cannot be changed:

  • The person’s age: Individuals 55 years or older are more likely to experience a TIA
  • A family history of TIAs or a stroke
  • Having sickle cell disease
  • Suffering a prior TIA or stroke
  • Being of African American descent: This particular ethnicity is associated with an increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke
  • Gender: Men are slightly more susceptible to TIAs

Fortunately, there are still many ways to reduce your risk for a TIA or stroke. These attacks are frequently associated with related health conditions, including:

  • Cardiovascular (heart) disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • Diabetes
  • Embolisms
  • Carotid artery disease

Through practicing healthy lifestyle habits and treating known medical problems are key to preventing transient ischemic attacks and strokes. All individuals are recommended to exercise regularly and maintain a proper diet in order to manage their weight, which can impact their risk for an incredible number of health problems. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and illicit drug use are all also associated with an increased likelihood for suffering a TIA or stroke, and so these activities should be avoided.

Receive Expert Advice on TIAs from Dr. Tuwiner

For additional resources regarding transient ischemic attacks, please call or visit Virginia Center for Neuroscience to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists. In addition to offering care to patients of Lansdowne, VA, we also provide many online articles and assorted materials in our health library.