TIA mini strokes are a sign of possibly more serious strokes

TIA's only last a few minutes, but they're a red flag for future stroke

NEW YORK (CNN) – Transient Ischemic Attacks or TIA’s are often called mini strokes because their symptoms are the same as stroke, but they go away in a few minutes, in other words, they’re transient or temporary. However, doctors want patients who’ve experienced TIA’s to seek immediate medical attention because TIA’s are warning signs for a potentially bigger issue, namely, stroke.

TIA’s happen when a blood clot or tight vessel cuts off blood flow to the brain for a short time. TIA’s only last a few minutes, but they’re a red flag for future stroke.

“About 10 percent of patients who have had TIA’s will have a stroke within 90 days,” said Dr. Henri Vaitkevicius, Neurologist, Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Signs and symptoms of TIA’s are sudden and the same as those of stroke:

  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • Confusion or trouble speaking
  • Trouble with vision
  • Dizziness or loss of balance or severe headache with no known cause

“It’s extremely important to take these signs seriously, even though they resolve  and you’re back to baseline, it’s extremely important to take this seriously and seek medical attention as soon as possible,” said Dr. Vaitkevicius.

Depending on the underlying cause, treatment for TIA’s can range from lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking, eating a heart healthy diet and exercising, to medications that prevent clots or lower cholesterol or as in Jon Petersen’s case, surgery.

“That technique was able to resolve a number of his symptoms and prevent a major catastrophic stroke from happening,” said Dr. Vaitkevicius.

The American Stroke Association has come up with an easy way to remember the signs of TIA or stoke.

Remember FAST:

  • Facial drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 911

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