Transient Ischaemic Attack

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What is Transient Ischaemic Attack?

Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or mild stroke, is a disease with similar symptoms of a stroke and lasts a short time. TIA usually only lasts for a few minutes and does not risk causing permanent brain damage. However, TIA disorder is a wake-up call that you have the risk of more severe strokes in the future if left untreated. 

TIA is considered a medical emergency due to neurological dysfunction. In some cases, TIA can last less than an hour. The most worrying risk is severe strokes within 48 hours after experiencing a mild stroke. It is very important to distinguish between the symptoms of a mild stroke and a severe stroke.

According to WebMD, about 1 in 3 people who have experienced TIA will eventually have a severe stroke, with half occurring about a year after the TIA attack. You should consider a mild stroke as a warning that you could have a severe stroke in the future. Be sure to prevent it before it is too late. 

Causes of Transient Ischaemic Attack

TIA is often caused by a build-up of cholesterol-containing fat deposits in arterial veins or one of its branches in charge of supplying oxygen and nutrients to the brain. The build-up of fat-containing cholesterol can clog the bloodstream and cause clots to grow bigger.

Blood clots move into arterial blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the brain through other organs of the body, such as your heart – which can ultimately cause mild strokes.

In addition, there are also other factors that put you at risk of TIA, such as:

  • Smoking habits 
  • Hypertension.
  • Over 55 years old.
  • Rarely doing sports.
  • Being male
  • Consumption of alcoholic drinks
  • Use of illegal drugs.
  • Have family members with a history of stroke.
  • Frequent consumption of foods high in salt and fatty.
  • Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cholesterol, or diabetes.

When to See a Doctor for Transient Ischaemic Attack

Stroke patients will be treated by a neurologist, depending on the type of stroke experienced – whether the stroke is caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or caused by bleeding inside the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).

Evaluation of symptoms is very important for doctors to diagnose what caused the TIA and determine suitable treatment options according to symptoms. To facilitate the diagnosis process, your doctor will likely perform the following tests:

1. Physical Tests

Your doctor will examine your physical and neurological movements by testing your eye movements, speech, physical strength, reflexes, and sensory system. Your doctor may use a stethoscope to hear bruit sounds that may indicate a narrowing of the arterial blood vessels (atherosclerosis).

In addition, your doctor may also examine stroke risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and high levels of amino acids.

2. Doppler Ultrasound

If your doctor suspects a blockage in the blood vessels, he or she may use a Doppler ultrasound to monitor blood flow. Doppler ultrasound helps diagnose a wide range of diseases, particularly diseases related to blood vessels. Your doctor will analyze the images that appear on the screen to find the location of the narrowing or freezing in the carotid.

3. CT Scan or CTA 

Your doctor may recommend a CT scan using an X-ray that assembles a 3D display on a part of the brain. This is done to evaluate the arterial blood vessels in your neck and brain. This procedure differs from doppler ultrasound, which only evaluates the carotid.

4. Arteriography

An arteriographic procedure provides an overview of arterial blood vessels in the brain that are not normally seen through X-rays. Your radiologist will insert a thin catheter through a small incision usually in the groin.

Symptoms of Transient Ischaemic Attack

A TIA usually only lasts for a few minutes. However, most symptoms will disappear within an hour after the attack – symptoms rarely last up to 24 hours. Symptoms of TIA are similar to early symptoms of stroke, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Inability to speak or understand clearly 
  • Blindness in one or both eyes.
  • Vertigo or loss of balance and body coordination 
  • Numbness or paralysis in parts of your face, arms, legs, or on one side of your body.

You may have more than one symptom of TIA. These symptoms can also appear repeatedly depending on the part of the brain affected by TIA.

Treatment for Transient Ischaemic Attack

Once your doctor has successfully diagnosed the cause of your TIA condition, he or she will likely offer a number of medical treatments to prevent stroke. Treatment for TIA depends on the cause. Your doctor may prescribe medication or recommend surgery. 

1. Medications

Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the chances of a stroke after you experience a TIA. The prescribed medication depends on the location of the blockage, the cause, severity, and type of TIA. You may be prescribed antiplatelet and anticoagulant medications.

2. Surgery

If you have a blockage in the carotid, your doctor may advise you to perform a carotid endarterectomy. This preventive surgery aims to remove the carotid from fat deposits before TIA or other strokes occur. Incisions are made to open arteries, remove fat, and treat arterial blockage areas.

3. Angioplasty

An angioplasty procedure involves using a balloon-like device to open blocked arterial blood vessels and place a small wire tube (stent) into the artery to keep it open. This helps the blood to flow smoothly. 

Treatment Cost for Transient Ischaemic Attack

Treatment cost for TIA varies depending on the type of TIA, the location of the blockage, its severity, and the treatment method recommended by your doctor.

To calculate the estimated cost of TIA treatment at home or abroad, contact Smarter Health.

Prevention of Transient Ischaemic Attack

One of the primary causes of TIA is an unhealthy lifestyle. Below are several precautions you can take before it is too late:

  • Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of TIA or stroke.
  • Limit your consumption of fatty foods and high cholesterol, especially saturated fats and trans fats.
  • Avoid the use of illegal drugs that may increase the risk of TIA or stroke.
  • Perform physical exercises regularly – exercise is the best preventive measure without medication.
  • Avoid foods high in salt to reduce blood pressure and prevent hypertension.
  • Limit your alcohol intake – no more than one glass a day for women and two glasses a day for men.
  • Control diabetes and blood pressure levels by going on a diet, exercise, weight control, and other suggestions by your doctor.
  • Consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, as it contains healthy nutrients to avoid TIA or stroke.
  • Maintain ideal weight, as being overweight risks causing other diseases, such as hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.

Home Remedies for Transient Ischaemic Attack

After arterial surgery, you are allowed to return home. During the recovery process at home, you are required to take special medications to reduce the risk of infection. You should also lead a healthy lifestyle to prevent the recurrence of TIA or even a stroke. Contact your doctor immediately if symptoms reappear.

Have more questions about symptoms of TIA? Please write them down in the comment section below or contact Smarter Health.

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