Many physicians say that a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is to a stroke what chest pains are to a heart attack--a warning sign that a more serious medical event may take place. In fact, says Farzaneh Sorond, M.D., a consulting cerebrovascular neurologist at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, TIA is a far from insignificant event. As many as one out of three people who suffer a transient ischemic attack go on to have a stroke.
A warning stroke in which a blood vessel obstruction occurs for a short time and tends to resolve itself through normal mechanisms.
- Temporary decrease in blood supply to part of the brain
- Blood clot moving to the brain from another part of the body, most commonly the heart
- Buildup of cholesterol-laden plaques in an artery that supplies oxygen to the brain
- Sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg, usually on one side
- Difficulty speaking
- Sudden blurred or double vision
- Dizziness or loss of balance
Symptoms typically disappear within one hour and all affects are gone within 24 hours.
- Family history of TIA or stroke
- Age (risk increases as you get older)
- Race (African-Americans are at higher risk)
- Gender (men more than women)
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Cigarette smoking
- Cardiovascular disease
- Elevated homocysteine level
- Carotid artery disease
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Physical examination
- Brain imaging by computerized tomography scan (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Vascular studies such as carotid ultrasonography, vascular imaging (CT angiogram or magnetic resonance angiogram), or transcranial Doppler ultrasound
- Blood test to exclude a clotting disorder
- Anti-platelet medications
- Carotid angioplasty and stenting
- Carotid endarterectomy
Anticoagulants - drugs that prevent blood clots from forming or existing clots from growing larger.
Anti-platelet medications- drugs that make platelets (a circulating blood-cell type that assists in blood clot formation) less likely to stick together.
Ateriography - the injection of dye visible by X-ray into the bloodstream to evaluate blocked or damaged arteries.
Cardiovascular disease - diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
Carotid angioplasty and stenting - the insertion of a stent (a wire-mesh scaffold) into the carotid artery in the neck via a catheter (a thin, hollow tube) to keep the artery open.
Carotid artery disease - a disease that occurs when the major arteries in the neck become narrowed or blocked.
Carotid endarterectomy - a procedure in which a surgeon removes the inner lining of the carotid artery if it has become thickened or damaged by plaques that restrict blood flow.
Carotid ultrasonography - a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to determine if there is narrowing of or plaque formation in the carotid artery.
Cholesterol - a waxy, fat-like substance in every cell in the body and in many foods.
Computerized tomography angiogram - an examination that uses X-rays and computer technology to visualize blood flow in arteries and veins throughout the body.
Computerized tomography (CT) scan - a noninvasive diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body, showing detailed images of bone, muscle, fat and organs.
Diabetes - a chronic medical disorder in which blood glucose (sugar) levels are abnormally high because the body does not release or use insulin adequately to remove sugar from the blood stream.
Echocardiography - an ultrasound of the heart that provides an accurate assessment of the heart's overall health and can diagnose abnormalities which may lead to clot formation.
High blood pressure - a medical condition in which blood pressure (the force applied to the walls of arteries as the heart pumps blood throughout the body) is consistently higher than 120/80.
High cholesterol - elevated levels of cholesterol, a fatty substance found in the circulating blood of humans; high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) are associated with coronary heart disease.
Homocysteine - an amino acid (a building block of protein) in the blood, high amounts of which can damage the lining of arteries and promote blood clot formation.
Magnetic resonance angiogram - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies and computers to produce images of blood vessels.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies and computers to produce detailed images of organs and structures in the body.
Plaque - the accumulation of fatty deposits on blood vessel walls.
Stroke - a cardiovascular disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain and prevents needed blood and oxygen from reaching the brain.
Transcranial Doppler ultrasound - a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to determine if there is narrowing of or plaque formation in the blood vessels of the brain.
American Stroke Association - www.strokeassociation.org
National Stroke Association - www.stroke.org
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke - www.ninds.nih.gov
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