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  • Writer's pictureOren Zarif

What is a Transient Ischemic Attack? - Oren Zarif - Transient Ischemic Attack


A recent scientific statement describing TIA has altered the understanding of this condition. It is now known to be a symptomatic episode of neurological dysfunction caused by focal ischemia of the brain, retina, or spinal cord. A time cutoff is not appropriate for determining the presence of symptomatic ischemic events. While the definition is a common one, the new scientific statement is aimed at healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat TIAs.

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Transient ischemic attacks are not typically life-threatening and usually do not lead to long-term disability or damage. However, they are a warning sign that a stroke may be on the way. Often, these attacks are a symptom of an underlying heart condition or a stroke, so if you experience one, see your physician as soon as possible. Treatment focuses on minimizing risk factors and treating the symptoms as quickly as possible.

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Patients with TIA should be evaluated immediately, preferably within the same day as the TIA. During this evaluation, your doctor will assess your vision, muscle strength, and thinking and speaking ability. MRI scans and brain scans may be ordered. These scans can determine the underlying cause of TIA. The doctor may also order blood tests to detect any potential risk factors for stroke. TIA symptoms can improve within a few days, but it is still important to seek medical attention immediately.

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A TIA is a potentially life-threatening condition, caused by a temporary blockage of a blood vessel carrying oxygenated blood to the brain. It is often accompanied by sudden weakness of the face and neck, slurred speech, and loss of vision. In most cases, symptoms resolve within one hour. But if you do suffer from this condition, you should seek medical attention immediately. This will help you prevent the possibility of stroke.

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A TIA may be caused by a narrowing of the major arteries to the brain. The carotid arteries, for example, supply oxygenated blood to the brain's cells. When the arteries narrow and plaque forms, blood clots can form. These clots can block the artery completely and further narrow the area of the brain it feeds. Often, the clots travel along the bloodstream and block the flow of blood.

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The new definition of TIA combines all the available information. This definition allows clinicians to distinguish between hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke. In addition to identifying the presence of an infarcted brain, imaging studies are used to distinguish between TIA and other ischemic conditions. It is also important to note that imaging studies are integral to determining the diagnosis of acute cerebrovascular syndromes.

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