What is a TIA?
TIA is an abbreviation for Transient Ischemic Attack. TIA is a neurological deficit caused by ischemia (reduced blood flow) to the brain or spinal cord and can present with confusion, sudden weakness or numbness, and temporary paralysis.
Ocular ischemia can also present with TIA causing blurred or dimming of vision. TIA can cause slurred speech or aphasia.
The symptoms of a TIA resolve anywhere from within a few minutes up to 24 hours. The longer a TIA lasts, the greater potential it has for doing damage, however, even brief TIA can be debilitating.
Known as a "mini-stroke" TIA can portend a more serious CVA (cerebral vascular accident) commonly known as a stroke.
The difference between TIA and CVA is in the extent of tissue damage. A TIA causing temporary ischemia does not infarct and destroy brain tissue. A CVA always results in infarct by either blockage of an artery or arterial embolism. Necrosis (tissue death) is always associated CVA.
Events that mimic a TIA can actually be CVA, so it is very important you see a doctor if you experience the symptoms of TIA
The risk factors for TIA include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, carotid artery disease, smoking, heavy alcohol or drug abuse, and family history.
A TIA should never be ignored. Make no assumptions about the experience of confusion, sudden weakness, or temporary paralysis which may be accompanied by slurred speech and visual disturbances. Treatment is available for TIA. See your doctor to make a proper diagnosis and prescribe treatment.