A transient ischemic attack is a warning of an impending stroke and does not cause permanent brain damage, explains The American Heart Association. Symptoms usually appear rapidly and last only a few minutes. Approximately one in three people experience a stroke within a year of a TIA.
Patients who experience a TIA require immediate medical attention in order to prevent the development of a stroke, according to Mayo Clinic. Symptoms depend on the affected part of the brain and include weakness, numbness or paralysis in the face, arm or leg; slurred or garbled speech; difficulty understanding others; blindness in one or both eyes, dizziness and loss of coordination.
The risk factors for a TIA include hypertension, high cholesterol levels; cardiovascular disease; carotid artery disease; peripheral artery disease; diabetes; elevated homocysteine levels and excess weight, explains Mayo Clinic. Other risk factors include a family history of a TIA or stroke, age, gender, prior history of transient ischemic attack, sickle cell disease and race.
The treatment of a TIA is aimed at reducing the risk of a stroke and includes the use of anti-platelet drugs, anticoagulants, surgery and angioplasty, according to Mayo Clinic. Anti-platelet drugs include aspirin, clopidogrel and Aggrenox, which is a combination of aspirin and dipyridamole. Anticoagulant drugs include heparin, warfarin and dabigatran.