Mini strokes are real, and here’s what you need to know about them

“Mini strokes”, or transient ischemic attacks (TIA), occur when there is decreased blood flow to the brain. This decreased blood flow is caused by a clot or a bleed, and unlike regular strokes, it does not cause actual cell death. Symptoms are usually temporary and don’t result in lasting damage.

According to Dr. Yonnet, neurologist and HealthTap doctor,

“The symptoms are identical to those seen in a stroke, but transient, or short lived, with spontaneous complete resolution usually within a few minutes or hours. Symptoms lasting longer than 24 hours will be considered secondary to an actual stroke.”

A TIA should not be ignored, as it can indicate that a real stroke will occur in the near future. Many people do not consult a doctor when these symptoms occur. If you experience any of the symptoms discussed below, you should consult a doctor immediately. If the symptoms are prolonged, they can indicate a real stroke and cause lasting damage.

Here are the signs to watch for:

  • Muscle weakness, problems with coordination, weakness on one side of the body, or difficulty walking
  • impaired or slurred speech
  • Blurred vision or loss of vision
  • Weakness or numbness in the facial muscles, or on one side of the face
  • Also watch for: confusion, reduced sensation of touch, or difficulty swallowing

Risk factors for a stroke or a TIA include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, and atrial fibrillation.

Do not ignore the signs when they occur, as it is initially impossible to tell whether the symptoms are a result of a TIA, or a real stroke. Consult a doctor immediately if you exhibit these symptoms, so that you can receive the treatment you need, and to prevent a real stroke from occurring in the future.

You can also take steps to help prevent a TIA from occurring by following healthy lifestyle habits. Here are some of the things you can do to decrease your risk:

  • Stay physically active
  • Eat nutritious foods, including a lot of fruits and vegetables
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Control your diabetes, if you are diabetic
  • Reduce your sodium intake
  • Refrain from smoking

To find out how you can best prevent a mini stroke or stroke from occurring, consult with a doctor today.

Author: Maggie Harriman

maggie.harriman (at) healthtap.com

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