Mini stroke symptoms are the result of a transient ischemic attack (TIA) which is a temporary partial blockage of the supply of blood to the brain. Although temporary, and although brain tissue may not die or be permanently damaged, it is essential that the cause of the TIA be identified and treated.
Brain cells require a constant, consistent supply of oxygen and glucose from the blood in order to function properly and survive. If that supply is diminished or removed, brain cells may die within minutes to hours depending on how severe the cutoff of supply is.
A stroke results from the blockage (partial or complete) of an artery supplying blood to the brain. A mini stroke, or transient ischemic attack, typically causes identical symptoms to that of a true stroke except that the condition passes when the artery blockage is relieved and blood flow is restored.
Individuals who experience a mini stroke are much more likely to suffer a true stroke than other individuals. For a large proportion of these people it will take place within 1 year of the mini stroke if not diagnosed and treated.
The majority of strokes are ischemic; they are the result of a blockage in an artery supplying blood to the brain. A smaller proportion of strokes are hemorrhagic; a blood vessel ruptures and normal blood flow is lost and the blood can also directly damage the brain tissue itself.
Mini Stroke symptoms:
- sudden loss of motor/sensory function of region on one side of the body
- sudden weakness of region on one side of the body
- sudden paralysis of one side of the face
- sudden confusion or difficulty understanding
- sudden severe headache
- sudden slurred speech or speech abnormalities
- sudden loss of vision or vision abnormality (typically in one eye)
- sudden loss of balance and dexterity
- sudden abnormality in breathing rythym
Diagnosis of the cerebrovascular mini stroke event is typically through examination and observation of presenting symptoms. Monitoring of the blood flow of the carotid and vertebral arteries is also typically used to identify vascular abnormalities which led to the mini stroke.
Treatment is geared towards prevention of a true stroke. Clot dissolving drugs and/or anticoagulants may be administered. Surgery may be used to improve blood flow through congested arteries supplying blood to the brain.
Lifestyle, diet, and physical activity are key factors in maintaining good health and minimizing the factors which contribute to increased risk of stroke and vascular disease.