Let’s not bury the lead.  No stroke is good.  TIA’s however, when discovered and treated quickly, can help prevent a major stroke.  In fact, doctors estimate that up to 15 percent of people will have a major stroke within three months of experiencing a mini-stroke.

While it is difficult to think of a mini-stroke as a blessing, the event can provide an important wake-up call for lifestyle changes and immediate medical attention.  The small warning that a TIA represents can represent a valuable opportunity to prolong one’s viable life.

What is a TIA?

Recognize a stroke

The acronym “TIA” represents Transient Ischemic Attack. It is often called a “mini-stroke”.  This happens when blood flow to the brain is temporarily obstructed, even for only a few seconds.  This may seem like a minor incident and is usually ignored as a passing dizziness or eye blurring.  Nevertheless, mini-strokes can have a lasting impact.

Smokers, diabetics, those with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a personal and/or family history of stroke or heart disease are at the highest risk.

Most mini-strokes happen quickly and don’t get much attention.  This makes them particularly dangerous.  Research suggests that one or more mini-strokes can progressively interfere with cognition and other brain functions that support equilibrium, strength, posture, and the ability to walk normally.

Awareness of Symptoms

Often a mini-stroke will resolve itself, but it is hard to know the possible impact without a medical exam.  Anyone who experiences usual symptoms of stroke-like numbness or weakness the extremities or face, sudden headaches, burry vision, slurred speech or disorientation should, of course, seek medical treatment as quickly as possible.  This is particularly true if the symptoms are present on only one side of the body.  Caregivers particularly should focus on recognizing such symptoms and carefully interview the individual for whom they are caring to determine exactly what is going on.

Receiving treatment for a mini-stroke within 24 hours of experiencing symptoms can reduce the risk of having a major stroke by up to 80 percent.  The good news is that treatment for mini-strokes is relatively simple by controlling cholesterol, clotting and blood pressure.