You might not be having a stroke like the ones you’ve heard about or seen on TV. You might be having a transient ischemic attack (TIA), commonly referred to as a “mini stroke.”
One moment, everything is fine. The next minute, you realize you can’t move your arm and look in the mirror to see that half of your face looks like it’s drooping. These are some of the tell-tale signs of a stroke — a serious condition that needs urgent medical attention and can have a lasting impact on your health, especially if you don’t get the right treatment at the right time, says Dr. Rohit Gupta, Stroke Specialist in Faridabad.
Don’t let the word “mini” fool you: transient ischemic attacks (TIA) are a serious condition warning you that a larger stroke may be coming- and soon.
What Is a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)?
According to Dr. Rohit Gupta, neurologist at Accord Superspeciality Hospital, TIAs occur when the blood supply to your brain is briefly blocked by a clot or narrowed artery. Narrowed arteries are usually caused by plaque — a buildup of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances. A TIA looks just like a stroke, but it doesn’t last as long.
“Symptoms of a TIA usually go away within an hour,” says Dr. Rohit Gupta. “Because the symptoms go away, many people ignore them – which is a big mistake because they may be a red flag warning you that a major stroke could happen, and often within the next 48 hours.”
What Are the Signs of a TIA?
Symptoms of a TIA come on suddenly. You may feel perfectly fine one minute and then suddenly develop difficulty speaking or moving one side of your body. Sometimes the symptoms will come and go several times in a short period of time.
Common signs of a TIA include:
- Sudden weakness affecting the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body
- Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding
- Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
- Loss of balance or coordination
Acting fast is key — if a stroke is going to happen after a TIA, it usually happens very soon – often within hours or days of the initial TIA symptoms. Effective treatments to prevent a stroke from occurring are available, but have to be started right away.
“If you have symptoms concerning for TIA you should get medical attention right away,” says Dr. Rohit Gupta. “Your physician can help you determine if you did have a TIA and develop a plan to reduce your risk of having a stroke in the future.”
Recognizing a TIA
Use the acronym FAST to help you recognize the signs of a TIA and remember to act quickly.
Ask yourself the following FAST questions:
- F — Face: Does your face feel lopsided, or are you having trouble smiling?
- A — Arm: Is it difficult to move one of your arms or does it drift downward?
- S — Speech: Does your speech feel slurred or strange, or are you having trouble repeating simple phrases?
- T — Time: Every minute counts, and if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
If you believe you or someone you love is having a stroke of TIA don’t ignore it, and don’t wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Call doctor right away.
What Are Ways to Prevent a TIA?
Nearly 90 percent of strokes and TIAs are caused by plaque-filled blood vessels that block the blood supply to the brain or by a blood clot that travels from other parts of your body — like the heart — to the brain. Plaque buildup can be caused by:
- Buildup of high amounts of certain fats and cholesterol in the blood
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar levels
You can reduce your risk of having both a stroke and TIA by maintaining a healthy lifestyle:
- Find out if you have high blood pressure, and if you do, get treatment
- Avoid or quit smoking
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Drink alcohol in moderation — or not at all
- Address other related health issues, such as high cholesterol
- Maintain a healthy blood sugar level
Your physician may also recommend you take a low dose of aspirin or other blood thinner as part of your stroke prevention routine.
The decisions you make today, such as eating healthy and exercising, may prevent your chances of a stroke tomorrow. If you think you might be experiencing a TIA, take the warning signs seriously, and don’t delay getting help.
To learn more about how mini strokes and how to prevent future strokes, contact Dr. Rohit Gupta, Stroke Specialist in Faridabad at +91-9718044428 or request an appointment online today.