That stands for a Transient Ischemic Attack.

Are you prone to a TIA? Good question!

A TIA is a short-lived interruption of the blood flow to your brain. It may only last from a few minutes; to a couple of hours; to up to 24 hours.

Your body can have a few or several signs.  You can have numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; confusion or difficulty in talking or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; difficulty with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination.

blockage, clot, plaque, diagram

I had one Transient Ischemic Attack 3 years before the strokes. I was at a restaurant and I stood up and the entire left side of my felt like it was asleep. It was strange, and I assumed I would quickly walk it off. It was still there 5 minutes later. I knew I had better call 911 (the special phone number to ask for emergency help in the USA).

It lasted about three hours. The ER doctor advised me to have some tests to look for a reason for the TIA. I stayed and had the tests, which were negative. They didn’t explain why I had had one. I followed up with a neurologist and had a MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) which did not give the neurologist or me what was the reason that I had the TIA.

Learning all I know now, I should have kept pressing the neurologist for an answer or fired him and got a better neurologist. About one-third of people that have a TIA go on to have a serious stroke within the year. Many people with TIA have a major stroke within 48 hours of the TIA.

Depending on the person’s medical history and the results of the medical examination for the TIA, the doctor may recommend drug therapy or surgery to reduce the risk of stroke in people who have had a TIA. The use of antiplatelet agents, particularly aspirin, is a standard treatment for patients at risk for stroke. People with atrial fibrillation (irregular beating of the heart) may be prescribed anticoagulants.

Anyone can get a TIA. Risk factors are cardiovascular disease, smoking, diabetes, blood clots, or chronic high blood pressure.

Remember – If you have signs of weakness, numbness, or paralysis of one side of your body, slurred speech, blindness in one or both eyes, or a severe headache with no apparent causes get help immediately!

TIAs are often called “mini-stroke” or a minor stroke. Understand that you are being warned. It is better to go to a hospital with a false alarm than to ignore it. I repeat – Recognition that a TIA has occurred is an opportunity to start treatment, including medications and lifestyle changes, to prevent future strokes.

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