Maybe you were gardening and suddenly felt a little dizzy, lost your balance and coordination or had trouble walking. Maybe you were shopping and you had difficulty seeing in one or both eyes. Or maybe you had numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body, confusion, or difficulty speaking or understanding speech.
If you've experienced these symptoms and they weren't long-lasting, you may have experienced a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or a transient stroke that lasts only a few minutes. It occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is briefly interrupted.
Many people ignore TIAs, which can be a big mistake. Because there is no way to tell if the symptoms are from a stroke or a TIA, people experiencing any of these symptoms should seek emergency help:
- Numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body in the face, arm or leg
- Confusion or difficulty in talking or understanding speech
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Difficulty walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination
TIAs are one of the risk factors of stroke. About one-third of people who have them have a stroke at some later time. Paying attention to warning signs such as TIAs can prevent many strokes. The most important risk factors for TIAs and strokes are high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, heart disease, carotid artery disease, diabetes and heavy alcohol use.
Treating underlying risk factors by making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, not drinking alcohol and quitting smoking can reduce the risk of TIA and stroke.
Want to learn more about TIA or stroke?
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a TIA or stroke, call 911 and ask to be taken to the nearest Certified Stroke Center.
To find a doctor or speak to a nurse, call Consult-A-Nurse® at (951) 788-3463, 24 hours a day.
For more information, visit our Certified Primary Stroke Center.