Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, Mini-Stroke) - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of transient ischemic attack (TIA)?

The intensity and location of the blood limitation to the brain will determine what symptoms will occur as a result of a stroke or TIA. Many people experience confusion, weakness, and lethargy. If the loss of blood supply is in an area supplied by the middle cerebral artery, a classic sign may include weakness or paralysis and numbness of one side of the body. The whole side may be affected, or just one limb. Often there is a facial droop. If the stroke is on the left side of the body where the speech centers are usually located, there may be difficulty understanding words or speaking. Partial vision loss may also be part of the constellation of symptoms.

Strokes involving the vertebral arteries decrease blood supply to the base of the brain and may cause a drop attack (a sudden fall while walking or standing, and then a quick recovery), an unexpected collapse, incoordination, or difficulty walking.

The important distinction between stroke and TIA is resolution of the symptoms. By definition, the symptoms of a TIA must completely resolve. And, while this most often occurs within the first few minutes after symptom onset, it may take up to 24 hours to have complete return to normal function.

A special type of TIA is amaurosis fugax. Transient blindness in one eye occurs because debris from a narrowed carotid artery clogs the artery (ophthalmic artery) that supplies blood to the back of the eye.

Return to Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, Mini-Stroke)

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Comment from: SSB, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 01

I experienced numbness down my left leg. I lay down for about 30 minutes, decided to get up and when I did I became numb and tingling from my left shoulder down my arm to my wrist. Also from under my left arm down my left side all the way down my leg to the ankle of my left foot. I could walk. And I could move my left arm and hand and fingers. I called 911, spent 2 nights in hospital for transient ischemic attack (TIA). I had been taking levofloxacin for 7 days for upper respiratory infection. I still have the numbness and tingling from my left shoulder to my elbow and under my arm down my left side to my knee. I am worried that it will not go away.

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Comment from: Jay In Mpls, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: May 01

Yesterday I had my second transient ischemic attack (TIA). I"m now 48, my first TIA was 29 years ago at the age of 19, but symptoms were surprisingly the same. I wanted to say something to my wife and realized that I wasn"t able to speak anything but gibberish. I tried twice to say what I wanted, but wasn"t able to. It only lasted about 15 seconds, but when my speech came back, I realized I was about to drop the glass of water I was holding in my left hand. For over an hour I had no control of my left hand or fingers. Slowly, I regained control. The odd thing in my case is this: I have been on blood thinners for 38 years! I"ve been taking warfarin since my 2nd open heart surgery at the age of 10 in 1976! I should have no clot problems. That being said, I didn"t go the emergency room when this happened yesterday, I emailed my doc... I"ll keep you posted!

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