People who smoke, have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, or other cardiovascular risk factors are at a higher chance of having a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Peripheral artery disease, atrial fibrillation, obstructive sleep apnea, and coronary artery disease are other diseases that raise the risk of a TIA. A previous stroke victim is also at a higher risk of having a TIA.

According to a new American Heart Association scientific statement published today in the Association’s journal Stroke, transient ischemic attack symptoms, which vanish within an hour, need immediate evaluation in order to assist avert a full-blown stroke.

TIA is a momentary stoppage of the brain’s blood supply. A TIA affects roughly 240,000 Americans annually, however, this number may be underreported since symptoms usually subside within an hour.

According to Hardik P. Amin, M.D., associate professor of neurology, medical stroke director at Yale New Haven Hospital, St. Raphael Campus in New Haven, Connecticut, and chair of the scientific statement writing committee, “confidently diagnosing a TIA is difficult since most patients are back to normal function by the time they arrive at the emergency room.”

Additionally, there are differences in the workup that TIA patients may have throughout the nation. This could be brought on by geographical considerations, a lack of resources at medical facilities, or differences in the degree of comfort and expertise among medical specialists.

While the TIA does not cause lasting damage, approximately one in every five people who have one will have a full-blown stroke within three months of the TIA, with nearly half having one within two days.

Because of this, a TIA is better referred to as a warning stroke rather than a “mini-stroke,” as it is sometimes characterized.

The transient TIA symptoms are the same as the stroke symptoms. They begin abruptly and may exhibit any or all of the following characteristics:

  • Symptoms normally last less than an hour; they begin intensely and then diminish.
  • sagging skin on the face;
  • weakness or numbness on one side of the body;
  • Slurred speech or difficulty speaking;
  • dizziness; vision loss; or
  • difficulty walking.

The FAST acronym, which is used to describe stroke symptoms, can be used to spot a TIA: F ― Face drooping or numbness; A-Arm weakness; S ― Speech difficulty; T ― Time to call 9-1-1, even if the symptoms go away.

A TIA mimic’s symptoms tend to worsen over time and expand to other areas of the body.

Source: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000418

Image Credit: Getty


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