What Is a Transient Ischemic Attack?

A transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a ministroke or warning stroke, causes symptoms similar to those of a stroke. The difference is that TIAs don’t cause permanent brain damage, and they usually last less than five minutes.

TIAs happen when a blood clot or artery spasm suddenly and briefly blocks or closes off an artery. For a short time, this stops blood from reaching the brain. TIA symptoms usually last less than one hour, but they can last for up to 24 hours. Here are symptoms to watch out for:

  • Sudden numbness in your face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

  • Sudden confusion

  • Sudden trouble seeing, talking or understanding

  • Sudden trouble with balance or walking

  • Sudden dizziness or loss of coordination 

  • Sudden severe headache you can’t explain

If you suspect you are having a TIA, get medical help immediately.

 

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