Transient Ischemic Attack Definition
Transient ischemic attack or mild stroke is a stroke that lasts a short time. TIA does not cause permanent brain damage. However, the condition is a warning that sufferers are at greater risk of stroke in later life.
A mild stroke occurs suddenly and only lasts a matter of minutes or hours. The sufferer can recover within a day. However, mild stroke treatment is necessary immediately to prevent ischemic stroke or other more serious complications.
Transient Ischemic Attack Causes
The cause of a mild stroke is a blockage of blood vessels that transmit blood to the brain. Blockages are caused by plaque or air clots inside the arteries, resulting in the brain’s lack of oxygen and nutrient intake. The condition causes impaired brain function and triggers the appearance of various symptoms.
Unlike strokes, plaques or air clots that cause TIA to disintegrate by itself, so the brain function can return to normal. Therefore, TIA does not cause permanent damage.
Hypertension is a major risk factor that can trigger mild stroke. In addition, there are several other factors that can increase a person’s risk of having a mild stroke, namely:
- Over the age of 55.
- Male gender.
- Have a history of strokes in the family.
- Too much to eat fatty foods and high in salt.
- Living an unhealthy lifestyle, such as smo**king, rarely exercise, excessive consumption of alco**holic beverages, or using illegal drugs.
- Suffer from certain diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, or sickle cell anemia.
Transient Ischemic Attack Symptoms
The symptoms of TIA generally occur suddenly and are similar to early indications experienced by stroke sufferers, including:
- One side of the mouth and face of the sufferer is seen down.
- The arms or legs are paralyzed or become weak, so they cannot be lifted which is then followed by paralysis on one side of the body.
- Chaotic and obscure way of speaking.
- Difficulty understanding the words of others.
- Loss of balance or coordination of the body.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Blurred vision or blindness.
Do not take TIA symptoms lightly, even if they may disappear by themselves. This attack indicates that you are at risk of a stroke at a later stage.
Go to the hospital immediately if you experience or see others showing symptoms of a TIA. People who have had a mild stroke, but have not checked themselves in are also advised to undergo an examination immediately at the hospital.
Diagnosis and management of transient ischemic attack
Treatment of transient ischemic attacks focuses on identifying the causes of impaired blood flow to the brain, so the prevention can be done to lower the risk of further stroke. Diagnostic procedures and imaging tests are generally performed to obtain a visual picture of the arteries, brain, and surrounding structures. Procedures and tests in question, among others:
- Carotid ultrasound
- CT scans of brain
- Magnetic resonance angiography
- Thorough physical examination
- Tests to check cholesterol, blood pressure, and levels of the amino acid homocysteine.
Drugs are the first choice to prevent advanced stroke. Commonly prescribed drugs are antiplatelet and anticoagulants (to prevent blood clots from forming) as well as thrombolytic agents (to destroy blood clots that have been formed). Antihypertensive drugs, such as beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE), and calcium channel inhibitors, are also prescribed if the patient suffers from high blood pressure.
Blood Pressure Medicine Side Effects
If the carotid artery or blood vessels supplying blood to the brain have undergone severe narrowing, a medical procedure will be performed to widen it. One of the procedures is a carotid endarterectomy, which removes the atherosclerotic plaque that has accumulated inside the arteries.
Another procedure is angioplasty with ring mounting, where balloon-like tools are used to open clogged arteries and the ring will be paired to keep the arteries open.
The prognosis of Transient Ischemic Attack patients depends on how quickly they receive treatment and how effective control of risk factors. When medications and surgical therapies are combined with a healthy lifestyle, patients have a better chance of preventing stroke from recurrence or continuing.