What is a Transient Ischemic Attack?

A transient ischemic attack (spelled ischaemic in British English) (abbreviated as TIA, often colloquially referred to as “mini stroke”) is a change in the blood supply to a particular area of the brain, resulting in brief neurologic dysfunction that persists, by definition, for less than 24 hours. If symptoms persist longer, then it is categorized as a stroke.

A cerebral infarct that lasts longer than 24 hours, but less than 72 hours is termed a reversible ischemic neurologic deficit or RIND.

Patients diagnosed with a TIA are sometimes said to have had a warning for an approaching stroke. If the time period of blood supply impairment lasts more than a few minutes, the nerve cells of that area of the brain die and cause permanent neurologic deficit. One third of the people with TIA later have recurrent TIAs and one third have a stroke due to permanent nerve cell loss.

In the majority of cases, a TIA can be prevented by changes in lifestyle. This means:

  • Avoiding smoking.
  • Cutting down on fats and cholesterol to help reduce plaque build up.
  • Eating a healthy diet composed of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limiting sodium in the diet which reduces blood pressure.
  • Exercising on a regular basis.
  • Limiting alcohol intake.
  • Maintaining a decent weight.
  • Controlling blood pressure and keeping blood sugars under control.

Further Reading


This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article on "Transient ischemic attack" All material adapted used from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Wikipedia® itself is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011

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