When people use the term “mini stroke,” they’re really often referring to a transient ischemic attack – or TIA – a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain.
“TIAs, or what’s commonly referred to as mini-strokes, are actually precursors to strokes in many occasions,” says Dr. Adam Heller, a neurologist on the Lee Memorial Health System medical staff.
While TIAs generally don’t cause permanent brain damage, they are a serious warning sign that a stroke may happen in the. Nearly half of all strokes occur within the first few days after a TIA.
“The greatest risk is in the earliest days or a week after that TIA for people that have certain characteristics with that TIA: longer duration, older age, other medical risk factors. And that’s why it’s really important, even with a TIA, for those patients to seek medical attention,” says Dr. Heller.
More weight is being placed on TIAs because a mini-stroke may provide a big opportunity to prevent a major event. The national stroke association states 40% of people who have a TIA will experience a major stroke. Because symptoms generally resolve within minutes, many people don’t recognize the danger.
“If they have any sudden change of strength or sensation, one side of the body or the other, and change of their speech pattern, either slurring of their speech or difficulty getting words out, sudden visual changes, those would be the most common and integral signs,” says Dr. Heller.
If you suspect that you’ve had a mini-stroke, seek immediate medical attention. The earlier you receive treatment the better you’re outcome will be.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.