Transient Ischemic Attack Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Transient Ischemic Attack Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a stroke-like condition, with stroke-like signs and symptoms. However, this condition lasts only a few minutes and does not cause permanent damage.

This condition is often referred to as a mini-stroke and TIA can be a sign that needs to be watched out for and should receive serious attention. This is because about one in three people who experience a TIA can have a recurrent stroke later in life. About half even occur within a year.

Transient Ischemic Attack Symptoms

Signs and symptoms that develop as a result of a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) generally last for a few minutes. Most of these marks will disappear within an hour.

TIA signs resemble those found at the start of a stroke, which appears suddenly, namely:

  • Weakness, numbness, or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg, usually on one side of the body.
  • Speaks unclearly and has difficulty understanding others.
  • Blindness in one or both eyes or double vision.
  • Dizziness or loss of balance and coordination.
  • Sudden and severe headache with no known cause.

Transient Ischemic Attack Reason

The condition of Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) has the same background as ischemic stroke, which is the most common type of stroke. In an ischemic stroke, a blood clot blocks blood flow to part of the brain. Whereas in TIA, unlike a stroke, the blockage lasts a very short time and generally no permanent damage occurs.

The cause of TIA is often due to the accumulation of fatty deposits containing cholesterol, which is known as plaque (atherosclerosis). This plaque is buried in the arteries or one of their branches.

Keep in mind, arteries serve to supply oxygen and nutrients to the brain. The presence of plaque can block blood flow through the arteries or cause blood clots to form. Blood clots that originate in other parts of the body, such as the heart, and travel to arteries that supply oxygen and nutrients to the brain, can also cause a TIA.

There are several factors that can increase the likelihood of TIA and stroke, which include:

  • Family history. A person’s risk of experiencing this condition can increase if one family member has a history of TIA or stroke.
  • Age. As you get older, the risk of this event also increases. Especially those over 55 years old.
  • Gender. Men have a higher chance of having a TIA and stroke.
  • Prior history of TIA. Those who have had one or more TIA are 10 times more likely to have a stroke later in life.
  • sickle cell disease. Also known as sickle cell anemia, this disease has a complication in the form of a stroke.
  • High blood pressure. The risk of stroke begins to increase at blood pressure above 140/90 mmHg. The doctor will determine the target blood pressure based on age and the presence of other risk factors.
  • High cholesterol levels. Limiting the consumption of foods high in cholesterol and fat, as well as saturated fat and trans fat, can reduce plaque formation in the arteries.

If dietary changes alone cannot control cholesterol levels, your doctor can prescribe certain medications. The goal is to lower cholesterol.

  • Cardiovascular disease. Disturbances in the form of heart failure, heart deformities, infections of the heart, or irregular heart rhythms, can increase the risk of stroke.
  • Carotid artery disease. This is a blockage in the blood vessels in the neck that drain blood to the brain.
  • Peripheral artery disease. Is a type of disorder that causes blockages in the blood vessels that carry blood to the arms and legs.
  • Increased homocysteine ​​levels. Elevated levels of the amino acid homocysteine ​​can cause thickening and scarring of the arteries, which makes them more susceptible to blood clots.
  • Excess weight. Body mass index (BMI) above 25 kg/m 2 and waist circumference above 89 centimeters in women and 102 centimeters in men can increase the risk of TIA and stroke.
  • Bad habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, use of narcotics and illegal drugs, and lack of physical activity.
  • Poor nutritional intake, such as consuming excess fat or salt.


Diagnosis of Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is made based on medical history and several examinations, namely physical examination and supporting examinations. The doctor will check for risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and high levels of the amino acid homocysteine.

Some of the imaging tests that can be done are:

  • Carotid ultrasound (USG). This examination uses sound waves to identify any narrowing or blockages in the carotid arteries, which are blood vessels in the neck.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scans. This examination involves X-rays to construct a three-dimensional image of the structure of the brain.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). This procedure uses a strong magnetic field to construct a composite three-dimensional image of the brain.
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA). This examination is used to evaluate the arteries in the neck and brain. This examination also uses a strong magnetic field, similar to an MRI.
  • Echocardiography. This test uses sound waves that bounce off certain parts of the body, and create an image of the shape of the heart.
  • Arteriography. This procedure helps visualize arteries in the brain that are not normally seen on X-rays.

Transient Ischemic Attack Treatment

After the doctor determines the cause of the Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), the goal of treatment is to correct the abnormalities or blood vessel disorders that occur to prevent strokes.

Depending on the cause of TIA, your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce the tendency for blood to clot. In addition, surgery or other procedures may be recommended.

Doctors can prescribe several types of medication to reduce the chance of having a stroke after a TIA. The type of treatment depends on the location, cause, severity, and type of TIA.

If there are arteries that experience severe narrowing, the doctor may also recommend certain surgeries to remove plaque from these arteries.

In some cases, a procedure known as carotid angioplasty, or stenting, is also an option. This procedure involves using a balloon-like instrument to open blocked arteries. Stents function to keep the artery open.


There are many ways related to implementing a healthy lifestyle that can reduce the risk of Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), including:

  • Avoid smoking habits.
  • Limit cholesterol and fat intake.
  • Eat vegetables and fruit in sufficient quantities.
  • Limit sodium intake found in salty foods.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Take care not to be overweight.
  • Avoid using dangerous drugs.

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