What is a Mini Stroke?

stroke-fbOn average, one person in the United States dies from a stroke every 4 minutes, and strokes account for 1 out of every 19 deaths each year, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Though not everyone gets a warning before experiencing a stroke, some people experience what is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) – also known as a mini-stroke. The American Stroke Association characterizes it as a warning sign of a stroke, and it should be taken very seriously.

TIA is caused by a blood clot in an artery in or leading to the brain, however the blockage it creates is only temporary (transient). Symptoms caused by a TIA may last up to 24 hours, but usually resolve within 1 to 2 hours. Fortunately, it usually does not cause permanent damage to the brain. Though most strokes are not preceded by a mini-stroke, about a third of the people who suffer TIA experience a stroke within a year’s time. It is suggested that those who experience a transient ischemic attack to treat it as a warning sign, and should act to keep a permanent, more dangerous stroke from occurring.

Though clots associated with TIA dissolve quickly, there is no way of knowing how long it could take. Whenever you have any stroke symptoms, dial 911 immediately so you can get evaluated in an emergency room. Time is of the essence, or put another way, time equals brain.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs and symptoms of a stroke:

Face drooping
Arm weakness
Speech difficulty
Time to call 911

Additional signs of a stroke can include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden severe headache with no known causes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or lack of balance and coordination

If you experience TIA after having a stroke, go to the emergency room immediately, since it could mean that something in your treatment plan is not working as it should.

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