A TIA is often referred to as a mini-stroke. These initials stand for a Transient Ischemic Attack. This is a warning you should not ignore. Transient means temporary while ischemic means lack of blood supply. While a TIA does not last very long (usually 1 to 5 minutes) it should never be ignored. This is your body sending you a warning that someone is wrong. Pay heed!
A TIA will give you the same warning signals as a stroke. If you experience any of these symptoms it is imperative to seek help immediately. There is no way to tell if you are having a full-blown stroke or this mini variety. But if the symptoms go away on your way to the emergency room don’t turn around. It is best to get checked out to make sure there has not been any long-lasting damage.
While a TIA does not usually cause damage, multiple TIA’s can create problems with memory. They have been associated with dementia. Additionally, a TIA can lead to a stroke in the near future.
The easiest way to remember the symptoms of a stroke is with the acronym F.A.S.T.
F– Face drooping- If one side of the face is drooping or numb this could be a sign of stroke
A-Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms. If one is drifting downwards that could also be a sign.
S– Speech slurred. If the speech is slurred, the person cannot speak or is hard to understand this may be a sign.
T– Time to call 911. Be sure to tell the person on the phone that you think someone is having a stroke. Look at the time so you can tell the doctor at the emergency room what time symptoms began.
If you have had a TIA there is no need to panic. This does not mean that you will have a stroke in your future. Your doctor will probably prescribe some medicine to reduce your risk. If you suffer from high blood pressure it is very important to make sure you take your medicine as directed. Missing a medication dose could lead to another TIA or even a stroke. Likewise, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can take to reduce your risk.
Adopt a heart-healthy diet
Eat a diet filled with lots of vegetables and some healthy fats The key is variety. The more different colors you have on your plate, the healthier your meal will be. Make sure that you choose 100% whole grains in your bread and pasta. This will help you to lower your possibility of a stroke. If you have hypertension you may want to check out the DASH diet. The Mediterranean Diet is also recommended for a healthy heart and a healthy brain.
Add a daily exercise routine to your schedule.
This will help to keep your weight balanced and will also lower your cortisol levels. The key is to exercise regularly. Sitting all week without exercise and then becoming a weekend warrior is not a healthy lifestyle choice.
Try meditation, yoga, or Tai chi. You may also want to consider journaling, coloring and even knitting. All of these activities have a calming and meditative effect on the body.
For people who have not led a healthy lifestyle get started now. You do not have to try to make all of the changes at once. Add something each week. Small changes can begin to add up to big results.