From head to toe, our blood distributes oxygen to every part of our body. If the blood flow gets blocked anywhere, it can be a big problem. One serious effect is a problem called a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA).
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What is Transient Ischemic Attack?
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is like a stroke, built alike symptoms, but usually remains for a few minutes only and cause no permanent damage. Often called ‘ministroke’.
Don’t let the “mini” part fool you. A transient ischemic attack may be a warning to the full-blown stroke. About 1 in 3 people who have a transient ischemic attack will go on the stroke, within a year after the TIA.
Well, the symptoms of TIA and Stroke are likewise so, don’t get confused, and go to the hospital right away. 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.
What are the Symptoms or Signs of Transient Ischemic Attacks?
Transient ischemic attacks usually stay for a few minutes. Most of the signs and symptoms disappear within an hour or maximum within 24 hours. The signs and symptoms of a TIA similar to the early stroke and they happen suddenly and include:
- Weakness, numbness or paralysis in your face, typically on one side of your body
- Confusion or trouble speaking or difficulty understanding others
- Vision problem in one or both eyes or double vision
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache
- Trouble swallowing
TIA are many times a warning sign for later strokes. Taking medicine, such as blood thinners, may decrease the risk of a stroke. Your doctor may recommend a surgery. You can also reduce the risk of future stroke by having a healthy lifestyle. It involves not smoking, not drinking too much, eating a healthy diet, and exercising. Controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol can also help to reduce the risk of TIA.
What Causes TIA?
Loss of blood supply to a particular part of the brain may occur due to many reasons. The blood vessel can be blocked, and blood supply to that part of the brain is lost, or a blood vessel can leak blood into the brain (brain hemorrhage). The most common reason is the blockage of the blood vessel. The blockage can be due to the blood clot that forms in the blood vessel (thrombosis) or a clot or debris that floats downstream (embolus).
Blood clots that cause ministroke may form where arteries have been narrowed or blocked over time by the build-up of fatty deposits known as plaques. These plaques are formed during a process called atherosclerosis.
As we get older, the arteries can become narrower naturally, but there are some causes that can dangerously accelerate the process. These include:
How Transient Ischemic Attack is Diagnosed?
It is diagnosed by history and physical examination. Most of the time the symptoms have been resolved. The physical examination may include careful attention to the neurologic examination. This may involve:
- Check eye range and motion, and facial movement to evaluate the cranial nerves.
- Listen to the neck with a stethoscope to detect abnormal sounds.
- Check for a regular heartbeat to rule out the presence of atrial fibrillation.
- Examine the arms and legs for tone, power, and sensation.
- Check coordination and balance.
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What are the Risk Factors That Enhances the Chances of TIA?
The risk factors for a transient ischemic attack can also be categories into two categories. The one you can control or change accordingly and the other you cannot change.
Risk Factors That You Can Control:
1. Health Conditions:
a) High cholesterol- You can control your cholesterol by eating less cholesterol and less fast food, especially saturated fat and trans fat. Your doctor may prescribe a statin or another type of cholesterol-lowering medication.
b) High blood pressure- The risk of a stroke increases as blood pressure readings increases higher than 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). You can reduce the risk by controlling your blood pressure by taking some medicines or changes in diet.
c) Cardiovascular disease- This includes heart failure, a heart defect, a heart infection or an abnormal heartbeat.
d) Peripheral artery disease (PAD)- The blood vessels that supply blood to your arms and legs become blocked.
e) High levels of homocysteine- Elevated levels of this amino acid in your blood can cause your arteries to thicken and scar, which makes them more susceptible to clots.
f) Excess weight- A BMI of 25 or higher and a waist circumference greater than 35 inches in women or 40 inches in men increases the risk.
2. Lifestyle Choices:
a) Cigarette smoking- Smoking increases the risk of blood clots, raises your blood pressure and increases cholesterol-containing fatty deposits in your arteries (atherosclerosis).
b) Physical inactivity- Including 30 min of regular exercise may reduce the risk of TIA.
c) Poor nutrition- Not including proper nutrient in the diet may increase the risk of a TIA and a stroke.
d) Heavy drinking- If you drink alcohol beyond the limit (more than two drink for man and more than one drink for women) may increase the risk.
e) Use of contraceptives pills- All oral birth control pills increase the risk of a stroke but some of them may be riskier than others. So, before taking these pills once talk to your doctor about how the hormones may affect your risk of a TIA and a stroke.
Risk Factors That You Cannot Control:
You can’t change the following risk factors for a ministroke and stroke.
a) Family history- If you have a family history of TIA it increases the risk of TIA for yourself as well.
b) Age- The risk increases by the age, especially after age 55.
c) Sex- Men are at a slightly higher risk side of a TIA and a stroke.
d) Prior transient ischemic attack- If you’ve had repetitive TIA, you’re 10 times more likely to have a stroke.
e) Sickle cell disease- Also known as sickle cell anemia, Sickle-shaped blood cells carry less oxygen and also tend to get stuck in artery walls, hampering blood flow to the brain.
f) Race- Black people are at greater risk of dying of a stroke, partly because of the higher prevalence of high blood pressure and diabetes among blacks.
Well, these are the facts which can increase the risk of ministroke or TIA, so, try to control the factors which you can control to avoid the risk of this decease
What are the Preventions for Transient Ischemic Attack?
After knowing that unhealthy habits increase the risk of TIA, So, we need to improve our lifestyle to prevent with Transient Ischemic Attack and strokes.
a) Don’t smoke. Stop smoking can reduce the risk TIA or a stroke.
b) Limit cholesterol and fat. You can control your cholesterol by eating less cholesterol and less fast food, especially saturated fat and trans fat. Your doctor may prescribe a statin or another type of cholesterol-lowering medication.
d) Limit sodium. limitation the sodium is good for high blood pressure, avoiding salty foods and not adding salt to food may reduce your blood pressure.
e) Exercise regularly. Including 30 min of regular exercise may reduce the risk of TIA as well as stroke.
f) Limit alcohol intake. Drink alcohol in moderation (not more than two drink for man and not more than one drink for women).
What are the Treatments for Transient Ischemic Attacks?
Since it is not very long lasting, there’s not much to do to treat its symptoms. They may be mostly gone by the time to reach to the doctor. Depending on the cause of your TIA, your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce the tendency for blood to clot or may recommend surgery or angioplasty.
Medications. Doctors use several medications to decrease the risk of a stroke after a ministroke.
Anti-platelet drugs. The most frequently used anti-platelet medication is aspirin. Aspirin is also the least expensive treatment with the fewest potential side effects. An alternative to aspirin is the anti-platelet drug clopidogrel (Plavix). your doctor may provide both aspirins as well as clopidogrel, depends upon the condition.
Anticoagulants. These drugs include heparin and warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven). They affect clotting-system proteins instead of platelet function. Heparin is used for a short time and warfarin over a longer term.
Thrombolytic agents. In certain cases, thrombolytic therapy is used to treat an ongoing stroke by dissolving blood clots that are blocking blood flow to the brain.
Surgery. If you have a severely narrowed neck artery, then your doctor may suggest carotid endarterectomy. It is a preventive surgery to clear carotid arteries of fatty deposits before another TIA or stroke can occur.
So, here we have discussed in detail about the transient ischemic attacks, what is it, the causes, symptoms, risk, prevention, and treatment. Hope the above mention information will help you to know more about the deceased and come up with the risk of it.
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