Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Ahmad Saeed Ata, MD -  - Neurologist

Neurocare of Texas

Ahmad Saeed Ata, MD

Neurologist located in Frisco, TX

If you or someone you know has experienced a potential transient ischemic attack (TIA) that may have only have lasted a few minutes make sure these symptoms are not dismissed as this is often a “warning stroke”. These temporary TIA symptoms are frequently associated with a future stroke or other cardiovascular issues that may have long term effects. Patients who experience a TIA and seek immediate medical attention are often able to prevent a full blown stroke as many of these serious health issues will manifest within days to weeks of a TIA.

Ahmad Saeed Ata, M.D. is a board certified neurologist and neurophysiologist at NeuroCare of Texas in Frisco, Texas who has over 20 years experience diagnosing and treating transient ischemic attacks and strokes. 

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) Q & A


What is a Transient Ischemic Attack? 

A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is often described as a “mini stroke” or “warning stroke” as this occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain is temporarily disrupted. This may occur as a result of a blood clot, plaque build up, or other particles that block blood vessels to the brain. When a TIA occurs blood flow to the brain is only blocked for a short time, usually no more than five minutes. Symptoms of a TIA are often localized to one area of the brain resulting in a specific issue such as speech difficulty, vision issues, or weakness isolated to one side of the body or one limb.


What causes a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)? 

There are many risk factors that can increase the risk of a transient ischemic attack (TIA), some  factors we are able to control or modify and others we are not. 

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Obesity and poor diet
  • High levels of stress
  • Previous stroke or TIA
  • Pre-existing hypertension
  • Advanced age
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Dyslipidemia


What are the symptoms of a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)? 

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness 
  • Speech disturbance
  • Numbness
  • Confusion
  • Vision issues or difficulty seeing
  • Trouble walking
  • Severe headache
  • Altered level or loss of consciousness 
  • Confusion
  • Isolated vertigo


How is a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) diagnosed?

In roughly twenty percent of known cases, a stroke is preceded by a transient ischemic attack which produces temporary stroke like symptoms. The highest risk for stroke following a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is in the first forty-eight hours following the initial onset of these symptoms. Unfortanently, diagnosing a transient ischemic attack is often difficult due to the fact that most patient’s symptoms have resolved by the time they seek evaluation. Also, other disorders such as migraine onset, seizures, or low blood sugar can mimic transient ischemic attacks (TIA).  For these reasons neurologists are considered stroke experts with their diagnosis and treatment recommendations considered the gold standard in stoke care. Diagnosing a transient ischemic attack (TIA) will include an examination, a detailed conversation to understand the exact symptoms you experienced, and diagnostic testing that may include:

    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Computed tomography (CT)
    • Ultrasound of carotid arteries
    • Electrocardiogram (ECG) 
    • Blood tests
    • Sleep study


How are Transient Ischemic Attack’s treated? 

Since transient ischemic attacks (TIA) are “mini stokes” the treatment and prevention for future TIAs is the same of a regular or full blown stroke. Depending on the specific findings from your evaluation and diagnostic workup Dr. Ata may recommend: 

    • Medications such as aspirin and Plavix
    • Anticoagulant medications such as Eliquis, Coumadin, or Xarelto
    • Carotid angioplasty and or stenting
    • Surgical removal of plaque in your carotid artery 
    • Maintaining a healthy weight
    • Stop smoking
    • Modifications to your diet
    • Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol  
    • Stop excessive alcohol consumption
    • Exercise
    • Continued use of CPAP machine if diagnosed with sleep apnea


What does F.A.S.T. stand for? 

The term FAST is often used to help individuals become aware of the most common warning signs of stroke. The term FAST stands for:

F=Face Drooping: 

Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the individual to smile, does their smile appear to be uneven?   

A=Arm Weakness:

As the individual if one arm is weak or number? If so, ask the individual to raise both arms, does one arm drift downward? 

S=Speech Difficulty:

Listen to the individual, ask them to speak, is their speech slurred? 

T=Time call 911:

If you or someone you are around is having a stroke it is critical that you seek immediate medical treatment as this can minimize the effects of a stroke and even prevent death.

Dr. Ata has over two decades of experience diagnosing and treating patients who have suffered transient ischemic attacks (TIA) and strokes. Dr. Ata has helped countless post stroke survivors manage their life after a stroke. If you or a loved one have experienced a TIA or stroke  and are seeking a compassionate and thorough neurologist contact our office or click the request an appointment button.

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