The most common cause of a mini-stroke is a temporary interruption of the blood supply to a part of the brain by a clot, explains Mayo Clinic. A mini-stroke is also known as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, and is a warning sign of an impending stroke.
The symptoms of a TIA occur suddenly and last for a few minutes without causing any permanent brain damage, according to Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include weakness, numbness or paralysis of the arm, leg and face; slurred or garbled speech; blindness in one or both eyes; and dizziness or loss of balance.
The risk factors for a TIA include a family history of stroke or TIA, male gender, previous history of a TIA or stroke, sickle cell disease and race, describes Mayo Clinic. Medical conditions that increase the risk of a mini-stroke include hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease and carotid artery disease.
Lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive alcohol use, physical inactivity, illicit drug use and the use of birth control pills also increase the risk of a mini-stroke, states Mayo Clinic. The aim of treatment is stroke prevention and includes medical management and surgery. Medications include anti-platelet drugs and anticoagulant medications. Surgical procedures include endarterectomy and carotid angioplasty.