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What is a TIA?

Medically reviewed by Maushmi Sheth
Medically reviewed by Maushmi Sheth

A transient ischemic attack may seem like a mild illness due to its short duration and lack of visible consequences after the attack ends. But it is worth taking a closer look at this disease: quite often, this is the first hint, signaling the possibility of a stroke.

So, what is a transient ischemic attack or TIA, and how to recognize the symptoms and prevent them from developing into more serious diseases?

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is an acute short-term attack in which blood circulation in the human brain or spinal cord is impaired (as a rule, symptoms disappear within 24 hours). In one section of the branch of blood vessels, a blood clot forms, or a spasm occurs, which interferes with the blood circulation process. In other words, one of the channels that transport blood to the brain temporarily stops its work; this leads to an immediate attack, accompanied by nausea, numbness in the limbs, impaired vision and hearing, and other symptoms.

Most often, transient ischemic attacks occur in people over 65 years of age; this is due to age-related changes in blood vessels, as well as chronic diseases.

Who gets TIA?

  • people with essential hypertension;
  • people with atherosclerosis of the vertebral and carotid arteries;
  • tobacco addicted people;
  • people with heart rhythm disturbances, ischemic disease, artificial heart valves, as well as those who have had endocarditis;
  • people with diabetes;
  • people with increased blood clotting;
  • people taking hormonal drugs;
  • overweight people;
  • people suffering from osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.

If symptoms appear, you should immediately contact an ambulance. You need to make an appointment with a neurologist. You will undergo several examinations, including an ECG, a coagulogram, and a clinical and biochemical blood test, to establish an accurate diagnosis.

First aid for transient ischemic attack

transient ischemic attack

When a transient ischemic attack begins, people may not understand how to act. Often, not only the patient themself but also their relatives can get confused. That is why it is important to know exactly how to provide first aid. With a transient attack, a person will suddenly begin to behave inappropriately. There may be disorientation as well as speech problems. Often the patient complains of nausea and dizziness.

If you ask a person to raise two hands at once, they most likely will not be able to keep both of them upright.

In such a situation, a transient ischemic attack can be suspected, in which you need to begin to act immediately.

First of all, you need to call an ambulance to get medical help. While the doctors are traveling, it is necessary to put the person on a flat surface. The correct solution would be to place a folded blanket or clothing under their head.

If the vomiting begins, it is important to turn the person’s head to one side. Otherwise, there will be a risk that they will choke, which will lead to death.

It is worth ensuring the normal flow of air during a transient ischemic attack.

If a person is at home, then you should open the window, and also, if necessary, unfasten the collar, or remove the belt. Do not use any medication until the ambulance arrives. Firstly, because the clinical picture will be blurred, and there will be problems with the diagnosis. Secondly, with a decrease in blood pressure, impaired blood flow may worsen. In transient ischemia, treatment methods should be prescribed by a doctor.

Treatment of TIA

The physician must first decide whether TIA should be treated in a particular case. A large number of doctors are sure that there is no need to treat TIA because all TIA symptoms disappear on their own, and this is a fact. However, 2 points call into question this statement.

First point.   

TIA is not considered an independent disease but develops due to the presence of pathology. In this regard, it is necessary to treat the cause of the TIA development. And yet, it is necessary to take measures for the primary and secondary prevention of acute circulatory disorders in the brain.

Second point.

It is necessary to treat a hospitalized patient with signs of TIA as in mini stroke because these conditions are difficult to recognize in the early hours. 

Treatment of transient ischemic attack:

  • the patient is necessarily hospitalized in a specialized neurological department;
  • specific thrombolytic treatment of TIA is carried out (drugs are administered to help dissolve blood clots), used in the first 6 hours after the onset of the disease if a stroke is suspected;
  • anticoagulant therapy – drugs are administered that thin the blood and prevent the appearance of blood clots (enoxaparin, fraxiparine, heparin, dalteparin, and others);
  • drugs that normalize high blood pressure (ACE inhibitors, diuretics, beta-blockers, sartans, calcium channel blockers);
  • antiplatelet agents prevent platelets from sticking together and blood clots (aspirin, clopidogrel);
  • drugs with neuroprotective abilities – protect nerve cells from damage, increase their resistance to oxygen starvation;
  • antiarrhythmic drugs in the presence of cardiac arrhythmias;
  • statins – drugs that lower the concentration of cholesterol in the blood (rosuvastatin, atorvastatin, simvastatin, and others);
  • symptomatic treatment, as well as drugs that have a general strengthening effect.

Don’t try to treat it yourself. Trust the professionals who know exactly how to care for TIA patients.

Differential diagnosis 

Differential diagnosis

Because the symptoms of TIA are similar to those of some other conditions, differential diagnosis is essential for proper treatment. It is necessary to distinguish a transient ischemic attack from diseases such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, migraine, brain tumors, Meniere’s disease, and some others. This is important because the methods for treating TIA are different.

Epileptic seizures usually begin in adolescence, while TIA is more common for older people. It starts suddenly and lasts no more than 5-10 minutes. The paresis of the limbs is accompanied by their twitching. Seizures are often accompanied by loss of consciousness. In this case, the EEG is crucial for diagnosis since it shows changes typical for epilepsy.

Multiple sclerosis also happens in younger people. Symptoms develop gradually and appear for more than a day.

Migraines – like TIA, may be accompanied by similar neurological symptoms. A migraine most often first manifests itself in young people, but there are cases of its onset in the elderly. It develops, unlike TIA, slowly, lasting several hours or even days.


A patient after a TIA may experience long-term consequences of a “vascular catastrophe”: general weakness, impaired sensitivity of the face or limbs, weakness in the arms and legs, confused speech, memory impairment, difficulty swallowing, depression. This condition requires rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation should include physical therapy, hydrotherapy, massage, medication, supervision of a neurologist and psychologist, and a urologist and speech therapist if necessary. The patient needs a special mode of work and rest. Comprehensive rehabilitation shortens the recovery period, improves the prognosis, and reduces the risk of stroke and serious consequences.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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