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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.