A mini-stroke, also called a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a stroke that occurs when blood is temporarily blocked from flowing to parts of the brain. These shouldn’t cause any damage, however, they are an antecedent to an actual stroke, so immediate treatment is still essential. What does one of these mini-strokes feel like? Well…
Mini-strokes are characterized as decreased blood flow in a specific area of the brain. That is why symptoms are often localized or isolated to one side of the body. If you want to identify a mini-stroke, use F.A.C.E. for easy diagnosis (learn more below.)
What is a Mini-Stroke or TIA?
The most common type of stroke is called an ischemic stroke. These occur when the flow of blood headed towards the brain is blocked off by blood clots or narrowed arteries — which inhibits the brain’s functions and can result in brain tissue death.
Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) are called “mini-strokes” because the blockage is temporary — not enough to cause harm or severe damage to the brain’s functions. Despite being not as damaging, patients who experience a TIA will still have to suffer through the same symptoms.
Experiencing one of these mini-strokes is often seen as a sign that you are ‘at-risk’ of an actual stroke, which will require that you get early form treatment (usually in the form of blood thinners, dietary changes, and increased physical activity.)
How Does it Feel?
The symptoms that accompany a mini-stroke often disappear after the first 24 hours, but they will be present enough that you should be able to identify them in yourself or someone else. These symptoms may also differ based on what parts of your brain are affected.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms as the most commonly experienced by those suffering from a TIA:
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the face or your limbs (arms and legs)
- Dysphasia (language disorder) or Dysarthria (physical inability to speak)
- Vision changes, often blindness or double vision in one or both eyes
- Dizziness that causes a lack of coordination or balance
- Headaches, Fainting, and other forms of altered consciousness
What is F.A.C.E.?
F.A.C.E. is one of the most recommended ways of diagnosing a mini-stroke. It makes up a lot of the most common types of symptoms of a stroke. Including face drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulties. With the last letter instructing you to call an emergency number immediately for treatment.
Final Thoughts: What does a Mini-Stroke (TIA) Feel Like?
Mini-strokes can cause a variety of different symptoms that may affect your sight, speech, mental consciousness, balance, and strength. Most people report the experience to be incredibly disorienting and stressful. However, so long as you get the treatment that you need and act preventatively, you should be fine. These are “mini” for a reason, and effects should wear off within 24 hours.
- “Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 Jan. 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/transient-ischemic-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20355679.