Showing posts with label symptoms of TIA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label symptoms of TIA. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

TIA Ministrokes Can Lead to a Major Stroke! Pay Attention to the Symptoms

Three years before he died, my husband had a major stroke while playing golf.  He was rushed to the hospital, treated quickly, and had minimal lasting effects from it.  However, we did not realize at the time that this would be the beginning of many more such events. Over the next few years, he suffered through a number of mini-strokes or TIAs.  In his case, they often took the form of losing his vision in one eye for a few minutes.  Because of other medical problems he had, the doctors were limited in the ways they could treat him, and they could not put him on blood thinners. After one of his mini-strokes, a year after that first major one, a surgeon cleared out his right carotid artery, although that was a dangerous surgery for my husband.

Meanwhile, all we could do was keep track of his blood pressure, limit the salt in his diet, and try to minimize the frequency of these mini-strokes.  We also attempted to learn everything we could about these small strokes.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), often referred to as a "ministroke," is a medical condition that demands immediate attention and understanding. While it may seem less severe than a full-blown stroke, TIAs should not be taken lightly. Let's explore what a TIA is, its symptoms, causes, and available treatments.

What is a TIA (Ministroke)?

A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), commonly called a "ministroke," occurs when there is a temporary disruption of blood flow to a part of the brain. Unlike a full-blown stroke, which frequently causes permanent brain damage, a TIA usually resolves itself within minutes to hours, leaving no lasting damage. Sometimes, people do not even realize they have had one. However, it is essential to recognize them, as they can often be a warning that a more severe stroke may be imminent.  Looking back, I have often wondered if we missed the signs of mini-strokes which might have occurred before my husband's major stroke.  He often complained of headaches, visions problems, and vertigo.  Could that have been the beginning?  I'll never know.

Symptoms of TIA

The symptoms of a TIA are similar to those of a stroke but are temporary and typically last for a short period, usually less than 24 hours. Common TIA symptoms include:

Sudden Weakness or Numbness: This may affect the face, arm, or leg, often on one side of the body.

Difficulty Speaking or Understanding Speech: TIAs can cause slurred speech or difficulty in finding the right words.

Loss of Coordination or Balance: Patients may experience unsteadiness or difficulty in walking.

Vision Problems: Blurred or double vision, sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes, or difficulty seeing clearly may occur.

Severe Headache: A sudden, severe headache might develop in some cases.

My husband suffered from all four of the above symptoms, and they would happen suddenly, without warning.  Often they happened when we were simply relaxing, watching television together.  At other times, they happened when he was pushing himself to use his walker to get into a doctor's office.  Those events sometimes caused him to fall. 

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Causes of TIA

The root cause of a TIA is a temporary disruption in blood flow to the brain, usually caused by one of the following factors:

Atherosclerosis: The buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) in the arteries can lead to narrowing or blockage of blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the brain. This is what they believed was causing the mini-strokes which my husband experienced. 

Blood Clots: A blood clot can form and temporarily block an artery in the brain.

Emboli: Small clots or debris from elsewhere in the body can travel to the brain and block a blood vessel.

Vasospasm: Spasms in blood vessels can constrict and temporarily reduce blood flow to the brain.

Cardiovascular Conditions: Conditions like atrial fibrillation, heart valve disorders, and heart infections can increase the risk of blood clots, which can lead to TIAs.

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Treatment and Prevention

Prompt medical attention is crucial when experiencing any type of stroke symptoms, including TIA symptoms. Even though the symptoms may resolve on their own, the underlying causes need to be addressed to prevent a full-blown stroke. Treatment options include:

Medications: Doctors may prescribe anti-platelet drugs (e.g., aspirin) or anticoagulants (blood thinners) to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Surgery: In some cases, surgical procedures such as carotid endarterectomy (to remove plaque from the carotid artery) or angioplasty (to open narrowed arteries) may be recommended.

Lifestyle Changes: 

Patients are often advised to make lifestyle changes such quitting smoking, adopting a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Medication for Underlying Conditions: Treating underlying conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol can help reduce the risk of future TIAs.


While TIA symptoms may be temporary, they should not be ignored. TIAs serve as crucial warning signs for potential future strokes, which can be debilitating or fatal. Seeking immediate medical attention, understanding the underlying causes, and adopting preventive measures can greatly reduce the risk of experiencing a full-blown stroke. In the face of TIA symptoms, quick action can make all the difference in preserving your health and well-being.  

Check out the sources at the end of this article to learn more about ministrokes.  In addition, talk to your health care provider about any symptoms you may have, no matter how minor they may be.

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Mayo Clinic: The Mayo Clinic website provides comprehensive and up-to-date information on TIA symptoms, causes, and treatment. You can find information at

American Stroke Association: The American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, offers valuable resources on strokes and TIAs. Visit their website at

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS): NINDS, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provides detailed information on TIAs and related research. You can explore their content at

WebMD: WebMD is a reputable health information website that covers a wide range of medical topics, including TIAs. Their page on TIAs can be found here.

You Can Also Learn More from Your Healthcare Provider: Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional or neurologist for personalized information and guidance regarding your specific health condition and any recent developments in the field of stroke and TIA management.

Please verify the most current information from these sources or consult with a healthcare provider for the latest updates on TIA symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

If you are interested in learning more about saving money, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

You are reading from the blog:

Photo credits:  Amazon and Etsy