A TIA starts suddenly, like ischemic strokes. The difference is that TIAs last only 2 to 30 minutes.
Symptoms may include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion
- Sudden trouble speaking
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking
- Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
TIAs are sometimes called “warning strokes” and tend to happen multiple times. In many cases, TIAs are followed by strokes, usually within a year of the first attack.
Causes and Risk Factors
TIAs may be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Narrowing of the arteries, usually caused by atherosclerosis. This is when fatty material builds up and hardens on an artery wall. This material can break off and get lodged in smaller blood vessels in the brain.
- Cerebral artery stenosis
- Spasms in the walls of the arteries
- High blood pressure
- A lack of oxygen in the blood flowing to the brain, which can occur when a person is severely anemic, has carbon monoxide poisoning or has leukemia or polycythemia, a condition that produces abnormal blood cells and clotting