Beware the mini-stroke - know the signs

By Jeanie Hammer

​If I feel​ stroke symptoms, but they quickly go away, is there cause for concern? Yes. Mini strokes can lead to bigger complications. Protect yourself and know what to do.

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I often interact with people who tell me about various occasions where they experienced stroke symptoms that only lasted minutes and then went away. Because they felt fine so quickly they did not do anything about it. They ask if this is a cause for concern. Yes, yes, yes, this is a cause for concern! What they are reporting is called a TIA.

What is a TIA?

Stroke symptoms that resolve quickly are considered a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or a “mini stroke,” as some may have heard it called. A TIA occurs when a blood clot temporarily blocks an artery leading to your brain. 

TIAs cause the same warning signs as a stroke – weakness, vision or speech problems, and dizziness. With a TIA, however, these effects usually last only a few minutes. Do NOT ignore a TIA. The TIA will not cause permanent brain damage, but it is a warning sign of a possible major stroke to come. 

If you notice any of the symptoms of stroke — even if they seem to have gone away — call 911 right away.  More than 5 percent of TIA patients have a major stroke within two days and 25 percent will have a serious stroke or heart attack within 90 days.

Please don’t end up as a stroke statistic. Know the signs and what to do. See your primary care physician on a regular basis. Prevention can be the key. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I will discuss stroke prevention and how to manage risk factors.

To learn more about strokes, visit www.strokeassociation.org or www.stroke.org