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What is a TIA or ‘mini-stroke’?

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Weakness on one side of the body that goes away within minutes to hours (24 hours maximum). Slurred speech that occurs out of the blue but disappears in the same time frame. A new, strange disturbance in vision that lasts a similarly short while.

Just because stroke-like symptoms go away on their own doesn’t mean they’re not potentially serious. Transient ischemic attacks, also known as mini-strokes, are like a clanging alarm bell warning that a bona fide ‘brain attack’ with potentially long-lasting consequences could be on its way in the near future.

Scary, yes. But if you seek immediate medical attention, a TIA can provide a window in which to  take control of your risk factors for stroke (and thus, potentially avoid experiencing the real thing). Such a forewarning can also ensure you’re on the alert for possible symptoms, so if something does happen, you can seek treatment immediately.

Dr. Thomas Jeerakathil, a professor in the department of medicine within the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, gave me a crash course in TIAs for this ‘Your Health Questions’ piece that appeared in Good Times magazine back in 2018: ‘What is a TIA?’

For more information on TIAs and managing the risk factors for stroke, visit: heartandstroke.ca

Image courtesy of heartandstroke.ca

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