brainarteriesTransient Ischemic Attack, also referred to as TIA, is a neurological dysfunction of the brain that can affect the spinal cord, retinal of the eye, or the Brain.

TIA are frequently referred to as “Mini-Strokes“. A TIA is an attack and not an infarct –  which could result in cellular death. Infarction of the brain is also referred to as a Stroke.

The underlying cause of a TIA is very similar to a stroke. There is a disruption of cerebral blood flow. The main difference however is that a Transient Ischemic Attack lasts for only a few minutes – or up to 24 hours whereas a stroke is usually longer duration and more severe .

Having a TIA is a risk factor for a potential future stroke.

Symptoms

–  Contralateral paralysis  (opposite sided body paralysis)
–  Sudden weakness of body
–  Sudden numbness
–  Decreased vision
–  Loss of vision
–  Aphasia  –  Difficulty speaking
–  Slurred speech
–  Confusion
–  Dizziness
–  Loss or change in overall coordination

Causes

–  An Embolus that occludes an artery in the brain.
–  Blood clot from the heart that lodges in the brain
–  Blockage is short lived

Transient-Ischemic-AttackRisk Factors

Co-morbid Diseases

–  Hypertension
–  Heart Disease
–  Headaches (Migraine)
–  Atrial Fibrillation
–  High Cholesterol
–  Diabetes Mellitus

General

–  Age – 55 years old and older
–  Family History
–  Males
–  African Americans have higher risk
–  Tobacco smoking

Diagnosis

The important aspect is to determine if this is a stroke or a TIA.

–  Ultrasound
–  Brain MRI
–  Brain CT
–  EKG

Prevention

1.)  Avoid Smoking
2.)  Decrease consumption of fats and cholesterol
3.)  Decrease consumption of Alcohol
4.)  Exercise regularly

Treatment

–  The primary concern of treatment is to treat the underlying cause.
–  Prevention is also a key

Surgery

–  If Carotid Arteries are involved an Ultrasound can help determine the extent of problems.
–  Removal of cholesterol plaques may be required by surgery.

stroke-2Medications

1.)  Anti-coagulant medications

Heparin
Warfarin
Aspirin

2.)  Second line treatments

. Clopidogrel(Plavix)
Ticlopidine

3.)  If TIA is reoccurring despite Aspirin

Aspirin + Dipyridamole

 

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