TIA: A Serious Stroke Warning

What if, for a brief moment in time, you felt like you’d had a stroke? Your arm went numb, or your vision blurred. And just as suddenly as it began, it was over.

Or was it? You may have experienced what is called a TIA, or transient ischemic attack. Even though the attack is over, this is a warning you should take seriously and call 9-1-1.

A TIA is caused by a blood clot and the only difference between a stroke and a TIA is that with a TIA, the blockage is temporary. TIA symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time. Most TIAs average about a minute in length. Unlike a stroke, when a TIA is over, there is no permanent injury to the brain. However, this is your stroke warning. About one-third of TIA patients go on to experience a stroke within a year.

“The warning signs of TIA are exactly the same as for a stroke,” says Julian Gallegos, stroke clinical practice manager and nurse practitioner at NorthBay Medical Center. “If you recognize the symptoms and get to the hospital, you can get the help that can prevent a stroke from occurring.”

The emergency departments at NorthBay Medical Center and NorthBay VacaValley Hospital treat an average of 20 TIAs a month, according to Gallegos.

“A stroke can be far more devastating to your life than a heart attack,” he adds. “We want to help you avoid a stroke by identifying the cause of your TIA and teaching to prevent a TIA or a stroke in the future.”

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