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Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)

A transient ischaemic attack, often known as a mini-stroke, is when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted for a shorter period of time – anything from a few minutes to 24 hours – followed by complete recovery.

The main symptoms of a TIA can be remembered with the words FAST

FACE – the face may have drooped to one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

ARMS – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them raised because of weakness or numbness in one arm.

SPEECH – the speech may be slurred or garbled or there may be no speech at all. There could also be issues with understanding.

TIME – call 999 immediately if there are any of these signs and symptoms.

There is no one cause of a TIA but there are certain risk factors:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol

In around one in five people it can be a warning sign of a subsequent stroke.

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