TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack)

It’s a major warning. Call 911.

Stroke Symptoms & F.A.S.T. Warning Signs

A transient ischemic attack, or TIA, is a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain. The clot usually dissolves on its own or gets dislodged, and the symptoms usually last less than five minutes.

While a TIA doesn’t cause permanent damage, it’s a “warning stroke” signaling a possible full-blown stroke ahead. When you first notice symptoms, get help immediately, even if symptoms go away. 

Risk Factors and TIA

Anyone can have a TIA, but the risk increases with age.

Stroke rates double every 10 years after age 55. If you’ve previously had a stroke, pay careful attention for signs of a TIA because that could signal a second stroke in your future.

Common warning signals include sudden onset of:

  • Weakness, numbness or paralysis on one side of your body
  • Slurred speech or difficulty understanding others
  • Blindness in one or both eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache with no apparent cause

Major risk factors for a TIA or stroke include:

High blood pressure
Heart disease
Atrial fibrillation

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AHA Watch, Learn and Live / TIA
doctor and patient follow up

Diagnosis and Treatment

TIAs’ temporary symptoms, which can last from only a few minutes up to 24 hours, make diagnosis challenging. Stroke symptoms that disappear in under an hour need emergency assessment to help prevent a full-blown stroke.

Get help immediately if you think you could be having a TIA. Ideally your comprehensive evaluation should be done within 24 hours of when symptoms began. Here is what you can expect:

  • Assessment for symptoms and medical history
  • Imaging of the blood vessels in the head and neck
  • Other testing such as head CT, angiography and MRI

Once TIA is diagnosed, a follow-up visit with a neurologist is recommended to assess your risk of future stroke.

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Why Getting Quick Stroke Treatment is Important

Stroke symptoms, even if they disappear within an hour, need emergency assessment

A new American Heart Association scientific statement discusses rapid evaluation for transient ischemic attack (TIA) due to high risk of future stroke. The medical experts behind the statement share valuable insight below.

Warning of Future Strokes

The immediate consequences of TIA are fairly benign. But these “warning strokes” often foreshadow a full-blown stroke. The statistics tell the story:

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people in the United States experience a TIA every year.

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Nearly 1 in 5

people who have a suspected TIA will have a stroke within 90 days, and 2 in 5, when given the appropriate scan, will learn that they actually had a stroke instead of a TIA.

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TIA symptoms

can mimic other neurological symptoms, so it’s best to get a detailed evaluation by a health care professional.