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Why Do Seniors Have Mini-Strokes?

Ramin Ansari MD
Medically reviewed by Ramin Ansari
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Ramin Ansari MD
Medically reviewed by Ramin Ansari

A mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack) is a type of stroke, accompanied by impaired blood circulation and a lack of oxygen supply to certain areas of the brain.

Also known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a mini-stroke only lasts a few minutes and doesn’t usually result in permanent damage. Still, TIAs can be followed by more severe strokes, and because of their short duration, symptoms such as confusion, tingling sensations, and dizziness may be overlooked or ignored. However, it can help to know what typically causes mini-strokes in the elderly so steps can be taken to prevent them from occurring.


Common Causes of Stroke in the Elderly

A mini-stroke in an elderly person is characterized by a severe course, which entails various disorders of neurological and cognitive functions. The main cause of a stroke is the blockage of blood vessels in the brain by a thrombus. 

In addition, strokes are distinguished due to causes such as a migraine attack, stratification of the artery wall, and hereditary vascular diseases. You can check out some of the most common reasons below.


Blood Clots

While some more serious strokes occur when arteries carrying blood to the brain burst, mini-strokes are likely caused by blood clots forming in arteries leading to the brain. The World Heart Federation says blood clots of this nature may be prevented by:

  • Maintaining a normal weight
  • Getting regular physical exercise
  • Not smoking


If your senior loved one had a previous stroke, he or she may be advised to take medication to minimize the risk of clotting. Some doctors recommend aspirin therapy for this purpose. Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Irving, TX, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place.


High Blood Pressure

Chronic hypertension (high blood pressure) is another leading cause of mini-strokes in the elderly. However, this is often a reversible problem. In a Johns Hopkins University study of nearly a thousand older women with hypertension, 40 percent of the participants were able to stop taking blood pressure medications by making healthy lifestyle adjustments.



Atherosclerosis is a condition that causes blood vessels to narrow because of a buildup of a waxy substance called plaque in or around the brain. This buildup can cause blood clots that contribute to mini-strokes. Regular exercise and healthy eating are two of the commonly recommended ways to prevent atherosclerosis. Even basic forms of exercise, such as walking at a steady pace or exercising in water, can be helpful. A home caregiver can help your loved one plan nutritious meals and exercise safely. In-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.


Carotid Artery Disease (CAD)

Carotid artery disease (CAD) is caused by plaque building up inside blood vessels in the neck that carries blood to the brain. If enough plaque accumulates in the internal carotid artery, the brain receives less oxygenated blood, which can then contribute to a mini-stroke. Your loved one may be able to prevent or slow the progression of CAD by:

  • Limiting salt and alcohol intake
  • Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Managing chronic health issues
  • Limiting cholesterol and unhealthy fat consumption


Read about the best food that prevent stroke in our other article.


Type 2 Diabetes & Excess Weight

Older adults with type 2 diabetes are more likely to be overweight, and both diabetes and obesity are among the top risk factors for strokes and mini-strokes.

If your loved one is diabetic and not within his or her normal weight range, he or she might benefit from:

  • Carefully monitoring blood sugar levels
  • Taking medications as directed
  • Making healthy lifestyle adjustments
  • Attending regular physical examinations


Other Risk Factors

You should be aware of certain additional risk factors that could increase your loved one’s odds of having mini-strokes. These risk factors include:

  • Family history of TIAs or “regular” strokes
  • Advanced age
  • Gender—men have slightly more mini-strokes than women, but women have a higher overall stroke fatality rate
  • Sickle cell anemia or a history of heart disease


First Warning Signs of Mini Stroke in ElderlyDiseases of the elderly: stroke and TIA

Most often, a mini-stroke occurs suddenly. Symptoms include:

  • numbness of hands or feet;
  • weakness in the limbs;
  • lack of coordination;
  • speech problems;
  • even urges;
  • dizziness;
  • loss of consciousness for a short period of time.


A mini-stroke can develop from several hours to days. You can understand that changes in blood circulation are taking place by the occurrence of tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), attacks of fear, decreased attention, and loss of orientation.

The appearance of such symptoms is a reason to seek emergency medical help. Timely action will help stop cell death and avoid serious complications.


Mini-Stroke and Dementia 

Since different parts of the brain are responsible for different components of cognitive activity, the clinical symptoms of vascular dementia largely depend on which part of the brain is affected. At the beginning of the disease, symptoms may not appear. The timing of the onset of symptoms depends on the cause. For example, after a mini-stroke, symptoms in older people may appear as early as a month. If the etiology (cause) of vascular dementia is based on several mini-strokes, then pronounced symptoms can be observed six months after them.

In general, the clinical picture will be manifested by a decrease in cognitive functions, a slowdown in thinking, its viscosity, and a lack of concentration. As a result, patients acquire professional and domestic maladaptation.

Read about foods that may help prevent or slow down dementia in our Lone Star blog.


Bottom Line

Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Irving home care service provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (817) 591-1580.


  • What percent of people have mini-strokes?

Approximately 1 in 3 American adults has experienced the symptoms of a mini-stroke. The most common victims of the disease are the elderly. But in recent years, stroke has become more common in young people. It can happen at 30, and at 20, and even at 10!

  • How common are strokes in 70-year-olds?

More than 60% of people aged 65+ are prone to stroke. In 30% of cases, recurrent stroke occurs within a year after the first attack. Moreover, the second apoplexy does not necessarily correspond to the first.

  • Can mini strokes lead to dementia?

Dementia can be the result of a few massive strokes or, more commonly, many mini-strokes. Some of these strokes seem minor and may not even be noticed.

  • How many times can you have a mini-stroke?

They can recur in a maximum of 17% within 3 months after the first attack. With a mini-stroke, a violation of the blood circulation of the brain can last from several minutes to 24 hours, but in most cases no more than one hour. If the symptoms of disorders last more than a day, then a stroke is diagnosed.

  • Can an older person recover from a mini-stroke?

There are different degrees of severity of a mini-stroke. If it was unremarkable, then it will not cause great consequences. Sometimes, recovery can take several months.

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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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  1. 30/07/2023

    To the owner, Your posts are always informative and well-explained.

  2. 11/11/2023

    thank you for this well-written post. great information that a layperson can easily understand.

  3. 29/11/2023

    Thank you, very helpful. Will get busy with new food choices and more exercises 😉, not sure that I have had a mini stroke, but sure don’t want one! Have a good day!

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