A transient ischemic attack is no laughing matter. Picture this: You are shopping for holiday presents and as you reach to pick up a toy, you feel your arm lose its feeling. When you try to explain that your arm is numb, you can not speak and the people you are with say that you are speaking in gibberish. Then, as soon as has started, it is over. This is not a dream. No. This is a transient ischemic attack, and it is something you should take very seriously.
This attack is a temporary neurological event, and it is most commonly a sign that a stroke is on the way. If you have such an attack, you can most likely expect a stroke within the year. Though these attacks only last for a few short minutes, you want to address the issue as soon as possible. Do not ignore the symptoms: sudden weakness and paralysis of one of your appendages, slurred speak, brief blindness or double vision, and loss of balance. After all, if any of these symptoms last for more than a day, then you have moved from having a transient ischemic attack into having a full-blown stroke.
An attack is caused by a temporary decrease in the blood flow or supply to a person’s brain. When the flow is restored, the attack ends. A transient ischemic attack does not have lasting effects to one’s brain (i.e. this is what happens with a ischemic or regular stroke), but it is important to talk to a doctor as soon as one happens. You want to protect yourself from the possibility of having a full-fledged stroke in the future.
One of the main reasons or causes for a transient ischemic attack is build-up of fat deposits called plaques (i.e. cholesterol-contained deposits). These build-ups result in clots and generally occur in an artery or a branch of an artery and this is what causes the blockage of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the brain.
It is important to know if you are at risk for such an attack. This way, you know the signs to watch for and can monitor your health. Additionally, you can change your lifestyle to try and lessen the chance of a transient ischemic attack or a stroke. If someone in your family has had an attack or a stroke, then you are of a higher risk to have one yourself. The older you get, the more likely an attack is.
American Red Cross, American Heart Association (AHA), and American Health and Safety Institute guidelines. Instructors available on site.
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