A transient ischaemic attack or TIA is a temporary disruption in the blood supply to your brain. It is also known as a mini stroke as the cause and symptoms are similar. You may need to have tests such as a carotid Doppler scan and treatment to reduce your stroke risk after a TIA.
What Causes a TIA?
Transient ischaemic attacks happen when there is a blockage in the arteries that carry blood to your brain. The blockage is usually a blood clot that has travelled to these arteries from another part of your body. However, in some cases the blockage can be caused by fatty material that has accumulated in your arteries.
Symptoms of TIA
The symptoms of a TIA can last for a few minutes or for several hours, but they should go away in less than 24 hours. You might notice the following symptoms:
- Weakness or difficulty moving one side of your face
- Weakness or numbness in your face, arms or legs
- Slurred or confused speech
- Inability to speak
Diagnosing and Treating TIAs
It is important to seek emergency care right away if you suspect that you or someone else are having a TIA or stroke. If you have had a TIA, you will still require tests such as the carotid Doppler scan. The carotid Doppler scan will allow the doctor to identify any blockages in the arteries that supply your brain. It can help predict the risk of further TIAs or a stroke. The results will also help your doctor to choose the right treatment. You may need medication to reduce your stroke risk or surgery to ensure better blood flow through the artery. It can also be important to make some lifestyle changes such as losing weight or giving up smoking in order to reduce the risk.