Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is like a stroke, producing similar symptoms, but usually lasting only a few minutes and causing no permanent damage.

Often called a ministroke, a transient ischemic attack may be a warning. About 1 in 3 people who have a transient ischemic attack will eventually have a stroke, with about half occurring within a year after the transient ischemic attack.

A transient ischemic attack can serve as both a warning and an opportunity — a warning of an impending stroke and an opportunity to take steps to prevent it.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Prevention

Transient ischemic attacks usually last a few minutes. Most signs and symptoms disappear within an hour. The signs and symptoms of TIA resemble those found early in a stroke and may include sudden onset of:

  • Weakness, numbness or paralysis in your face, arm or leg, typically on one side of your body
  • Slurred or garbled speech or difficulty understanding others
  • Blindness in one or both eyes or double vision
  • Dizziness or loss of balance or coordination

You may have more than one TIA, and the recurrent signs and symptoms may be similar or different depending on which area of the brain is involved.

When to see a doctor

Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect you've had a transient ischemic attack. Prompt evaluation and identification of potentially treatable conditions may help you prevent a stroke.

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