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What is a TIA?

A TIA (transient ischemic attack) is sometimes called a “mini-stroke” or “warning stroke.” A TIA is a sudden but temporary interruption of the blood supply to the brain. TIA warning signs are the same as stroke warning signs, but they usually last for only several minutes. However, they can last for up to 24 hours. Warning signs are sudden onset of:

  • numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body;
  • confusion, trouble speaking or understanding;
  • trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
  • trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; or
  • severe headache with no known cause.

Even though symptoms seem to clear up without treatment, a TIA greatly increases a person’s risk of having a major stroke. Be sure to talk to your health care provider; he or she can help you prevent a stroke.

Source: American Stroke Association.



Gail Carlson, MPH Ph.D., Continuing Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia

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Last update: Wednesday, November 26, 2008




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