A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is similar to a stroke. However, in most cases it only last for a few minute with non permanent damage. Approximately 1 out of every 3 people who experience a TIA subsequently have a stroke, and about half of them take place during the year following the transient ischemic attack.
What you should know
In less than an hour, the symptoms and signs of a TIA disappear. They resemble those related to a stroke and often include the following:
● dizziness and loss of coordination or balance,
● double vision or difficulty seeing,
● problems in understanding what others are saying or slurred speech, and
● paralysis, weakness or numbness in the patient’s leg, arm or face, often on one side of the body.
In many cases, the main cause of a TIA is an accumulation of fatty deposits containing cholesterol, known as plaques, in an artery or a branch from an artery supplying nutrients and oxygen to the brain. They can cause clots or decrease the amount of blood flowing through an artery. In addition, a TIA can also occur when a blood clots moves from the brain to the heart or some other part of the body.
What you should do
If you feel that you may have had a transient ischemic attack, be sure to seek medical attention at once. If your symptoms are diagnosed promptly and treatment is recommended, you may be able to avoid having a stroke.
Following a transient ischemic attack, doctors select a medication for the patient based on the cause, location severity and category of the TIA. They include the following:
● Anti-platelet drugs reduce the possibility of the patient’s platelets sticking together. If blood vessels are damaged, the platelets start forming clots and certain proteins in blood plasma complete the process. Aspirin, which is actually an anti-platelet medication, is frequently used to treat this problem. It also has the fewest side effects and is the least expensive medication.
● Anti-coagulant drugs include warfarin and heparin, and they work on clotting system proteins rather than platelets. Heparin is used on a short-term basis, warfarin is intended for more extensive use, and both drugs must be monitored carefully. When a patient is experiencing atrial fibrillation, doctors sometimes prescribe Pradaxa, another anticoagulant.