A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or “mini stroke” is caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain.
The disruption in blood supply results in a lack of oxygen to the brain. This can cause sudden symptoms similar to a stroke, such as speech and visual disturbance, and numbness or weakness in the face, arms and legs.
However, a TIA doesn’t last as long as a stroke. The effects often only last for a few minutes or hours and fully resolve within 24 hours.
Causes of TIA’s
During a TIA, one of the blood vessels that supply your brain with oxygen-rich blood becomes blocked.
This blockage is usually caused by a blood clot that has formed elsewhere in your body and travelled to the blood vessels supplying the brain, although it can also be caused by pieces of fatty material or air bubbles.
Certain things can increase your chances of having a TIA, including:
- having high blood pressure (hypertension)
- being obese
- having high cholesterol levels
- regularly drinking an excessive amount of alcohol
- having atrial fibrillation (a type of irregular heartbeat)
- having diabetes
People over 60 years of age, and people of Asian, African or Caribbean descent are also at a higher risk of having a TIA.
Find out more about TIA on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk