What is a Mini Stroke?
During a regular stroke, the blood supply to the brain is severely compromised or cut off, which can lead to brain cell death and eventual paralysis, loss of speech, or other effects. Mini strokes are not actually strokes, but temporary interruptions of the blood flow to part of the brain. The medical term for a mini stroke is transient ischemic attack (TIA). These situations usually end quickly and without causing brain damages. However, it is important to be evaluated if you have had a mini stroke, as they can increase your chances of having a stroke (Swanson, 2008).
Detecting a Mini Stroke
Signs and symptoms of a mini stroke (transient ischemic attack) can include dizziness, double vision, weakness, blurred vision, clumsiness, inability to walk, loss of consciousness, slurred speech, and sudden amnesia. Not everyone will experience every sign of a TIA as listed here, nor will the signs be as severe from one person to another. Some people may not even notice these signs if a TIA occurs. If you do have any of these signs, get a medical evaluation and any necessary treatment. Since having a mini stroke increases your chances of having a regular stroke in the future, getting proper medical care is imperative (Healthy Heart Guide).
Medical Evaluation and Treatment
An emergency room is not always the proper place to get evaluated or treated for a mini stroke. Some of the signs and symptoms are so mild that they resolve before a person has the opportunity to get to an ER or urgent care center. If the symptoms are severe, emergency care may be necessary. If the symptoms are mild, a neurologist may be consulted and decide to run diagnostic tests such as a CT scan or MRI.
Treating a mini stroke properly often depends on the underlying cause of the event. If blood clots were a contributing factor to a TIA, drug therapy may be used to break up blood clots and prevent future strokes. If the blood vessels of a TIA patient are clogged with fatty materials, these deposits may be broken up and removed during a medical procedure. Proper monitoring is essential for patients who are on anti-clotting medications or for those who have undergone a procedure to remove fatty deposits from the arteries (Healthy Heart Guide).
Recognizing the symptoms of a TIA quickly can help you to get the proper medical care needed to prevent future events and keep you in good health.
Swanson, J., M.D. (2008). “Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA).” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 29 April 2009.
Healthy Heart Guide. “Symptoms of a Mini Stroke.” Retrieved 29 April 2009.