A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) happens when your brain’s blood supply is interrupted for a very brief time. The symptoms are very similar to a stroke, such as weakness on one side of your body, problems speaking or loss of sight, but they are temporary – usually lasting a few minutes or hours.
With a TIA, part of your brain is left without oxygen for a short time. A TIA is a sign that this part of your brain is not getting enough blood and you may be at risk of a more serious stroke in the near future.
You should not ignore signs of a TIA and should seek medical help straight away. If you or someone you know experiences sudden stroke-like symptoms, don’t wait to see if things will improve.
What causes a TIA?
For our brains to function properly, an adequate blood supply is essential.
During a TIA, one of the small blood vessels in the brain becomes temporarily blocked, usually by a blood clot.
When this blockage occurs, the blood flow to your brain is disrupted causing the symptoms of a stroke. Fortunately in a TIA, the blockage is temporary and the clot dissolves or breaks up on its own.
A TIA may be a warning sign. If one clot has disrupted the blood supply then another could also form and next time it might be larger and not dissolve on its own, causing a permanent stroke.
If you suspect you have had a TIA, even if it only lasted a few minutes, visit Hamad General Hospital’s specialist stroke and TIA service.