What is transient ischemic attack?

Transient ischemic attack starts in the same way as stroke but settles in an hour or so without any lingering effects. This condition generally lasts for a few minutes, but it might be difficult to determine at the start if one is having a stroke or transient ischemic attack.

If an individual is suspected with a stroke or transient ischemic attack, it is vital to bring the individual to the nearest emergency department even if the symptoms settle.

transient-ischemic-attack

This condition generally lasts for a few minutes, but it might be difficult to determine at the start if one is having a stroke or transient ischemic attack.

Risk factors

Some of the risk factors could not be modified such as the age, while others can be managed. The common risk factors include:

  • Family history of stroke
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity or race
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Drug abuse
  • Smoking
  • Blood cholesterol levels

Management of transient ischemic attack

Individuals with transient ischemic attack should consult a doctor right away. The assessment includes assessment by the doctor and diagnostic testing. Depending on the medical history, the recommended treatments usually include medications or carotid surgery to lower the risk of progressing into a full-blown stroke.

The medications generally include antiplatelet drugs specifically aspirin. Some individuals who have an erratic heartbeat might be prescribed with anticoagulant drugs.

In case carotid surgery is advised, it might include:

  • Carotid endarterectomy – this involves surgical removal of plaque inside the carotid artery
  • Carotid angioplasty and stenting – this is a less invasive approach suitable for some individuals with blockage of the carotid artery.

Prevention

There are certain measures that can lower the risk such as:

  • Cessation of smoking
  • Regular exercise
  • Monitor the blood pressure and treat if high
  • Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Monitor the cholesterol level and ensure proper treatment if high

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a transient ischemic attack is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage this circulatory emergency, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.

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