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Understanding Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs)

By Rick Cohen, 8:00 am on

A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) occurs when the blood supply to the brain is temporarily occluded. An individual who is experiencing a TIA displays symptoms that are the same as those that occur when a person is having a stroke, but the event is short-lived and resolves within one to five minutes with no subsequent brain damage.

Because TIAs – also referred to as “warning strokes” – are one of the strongest predictors of a stroke for seniors and older adults, Milwaukee Home Care Assistance wanted to share some information about them. The more education we can provide seniors and their family members on the topic, the higher likelihood for a positive outcome should a TIA occur.

What Happens During a TIA?

Just as with a stroke, a main artery to the brain is blocked by a clot and the blood flow from that vessel is stopped. The difference between a TIA and a stroke is that when a TIA occurs, the blockage is temporary and the person’s functions return to normal.

What are the Symptoms?

The signs of a TIA can be easily remembered with the acronym FAST. The letters stand for the following symptoms:

  • Facial drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 911

How Do I Know if it’s a TIA?

When the symptoms present themselves, there is no way of knowing whether or not the offending clot will dissolve. The longer the brain is starved of the life-giving oxygen that is provided by blood, the more likely permanent brain damage will occur. If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, 911 should be called immediately.

How Serious is a TIA?

A person who suffers a TIA should never take the event lightly. It is often an ominous sign of an impending stroke, and the individual should seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. This way, a doctor or specialist can advise on the best ways to prevent a full stroke, which will likely include a change in diet, increased exercise and the removal of habits such as smoking and drinking. During the time following a TIA, your family will want to check-in with your loved one on a regular basis. If this is not possible, it may be beneficial to work with a professional part-time caregiver in Milwaukee who can make sure that your loved one is following any recommendations made by the doctor.

Interested in learning more about senior health or stroke care? Call 414-964-8000 and speak to one of the Milwaukee stroke care experts at Home Care Assistance. We offer flexible hourly and live-in care schedules, complimentary consultations and all of our services come backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.