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Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) or Mini Stroke


What is a TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack)

What is the difference between a TIA and an Ischaemic Stroke?

What are the symptoms of a TIA?

Is there a risk of a Stroke after a TIA?

What is a TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack)

TIA is a medical emergency 

TIA stands for Transient Ischaemic Attack.  A TIA is caused by a temporary blockage in the blood vessels in the brain.  If someone has a TIA they usually recover within 24 hours so it is often called a mini-stroke or a warning stroke. 

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What is the difference between a TIA and an Ischaemic Stroke?

The difference between a TIA and an Ischaemic stroke is that the effects of a TIA are only temporary (transient).  A small blood clot (thrombus or embolus) may cause a blockage in the blood vessel in the brain.  Unlike a ischaemic stroke, the clot may break up quickly allowing the blood to flow through the blood vessel again. 

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What are the symptoms of a TIA?

If you have a TIA (mini-stroke) you will have the same types of feelings as if you were having a stroke, for example:

You may experience sudden;

  • numbness of the face, arm or leg especially down one side of the body
  • confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or co-ordination
  • severe headache with no known cause
  • loss of consciousness (rare) 

Unlike a stroke, these symptoms only last for a short time - commonly between 30 - 60 minutes, but may last up to 24 hours.  Unlike with a stroke, the effects of a TIA don't cause permanent damage.

However, a TIA (mini-stroke) can act as a ‘warning’ that you could have a more damaging stroke in the future and you should take it seriously.

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Is there a risk of Stroke after a TIA

The risk of stroke is greater for people who have had a TIA. The most important issue is to reduce the risk of having a stroke. 

It is important to report any strange feelings or sensations to your doctor immediately. Your doctor can do tests to determine whether you have had a TIA and if so, give you treatment to try to lower your chances of having another TIA (mini-stroke) or an even a bigger stroke.

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