Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) are known as ‘mini-strokes’ because most consider them a warning or a precursor to an actual stroke. However, that does not stop TIAs from being dangerous when they happen, and it should not stop us from considering the matter seriously either.
In the rest of the article below, learn more about why— just like with a regular stroke—a TIA should be treated as an emergency—one that demands immediate evaluation and treatments.
What is a Transient Ischemic Attack?
We recently published an article that teaches you everything that you need to know about Transient Ischemic Attacks. But, as a review:
They start just like any ischemic stroke. The differences are minute. They are caused by the same thing—either because of onset atherosclerosis or a blood clot—and happen because the blood passageways to the brain are disrupted.
There is little difference between a TIA and ischemic stroke on brain scans either. They even cause the same sort of symptoms: facial drooping, speed impediment, vision impairment, loss of balance, numbness on one side of the body, etc.
The main difference then lies in how long they last: A TIA often runs its course after a few hours. While regular strokes often last longer than 24 hours. Also, once a TIA is resolved, the damage is often small enough that the body can self-repair itself, but the same cannot be said for the larger and more permanent blockages that cause regular strokes.
Recognize & Respond: F.A.S.T
The first step in treating a stroke is recognition. You must be able to recognize the warning signs of a stroke and act accordingly. Which is where F.A.S.T comes in:
- Face: Is one side of your face drooping?
- Arms: Lift your arms. Is one arm lower than the other?
- Speech: Say something. Is your speech slurred or otherwise strange?
- Time: If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it’s time to call 911.
After evaluating yourself or someone else of these symptoms, don’t even think twice! It will be impossible for you to determine whether you are having a TIA or a stroke. So, always assume that it is the latter and act accordingly!
Don’t try to wait out your symptoms either. The next step after recognition is response. Take rapid response as your only solution. Because it might very well be.
As an example, did you know that there is a medication that can only be taken after the first three hours of the onset of your stroke that can help dissolve the blood clot causing the damages? Well, whether you did, or you didn’t, you must be aware that, after that window of opportunity closes, your options for a simple solution may become very limited.
Reorganize: Be Alert & Live Healthier
After being diagnosed with a TIA, your doctor should work with you on the ‘reorganization’ of your day-to-day life. They will identify any risk factors that you might have which involves checking your blood pressure, your blood sugar, and your cholesterol levels, as well as the general health of your blood vessels and your heart.
If you follow the recommended treatment plan accordingly, there is a chance that you can lower your risk of experiencing another stroke (whether it be a TIA or a regular stroke), by 80%. Usually, the plans include the following medication/lifestyle changes:
- ACE inhibitors, diuretics, or any other medication for high blood pressure
- Statin drugs to lower high cholesterol levels
- Low-dose Aspirin or Antiplatelet Drugs to prevent blood clots from forming
- Management of your blood sugar levels and diabetes with some dietary changes
- Carotid Endarterectomy or Stenting Procedures to manage Carotid Artery Disease and prevent any severely damaging blockages in the large arteries in your neck.
The Bottom Line: Mini-Stroke Treatment
Just remember. Treat any TIA as you would a stroke. Do not panic or let the risks overwhelm you. BUT, remember to be alert and make an effort to live as healthily as you can be.
- Publishing, H. (n.d.). Mini-stroke: What should you do? Retrieved November 30, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/mini-stroke-what-should-you-do