Therapies for TIAs, or transient ischemic attacks, help prevent subsequent strokes, explains MedicineNet.com. These involve the use of antiplatelet, anticoagulent and cholesterol-lowering medications, as well as medications to control blood pressure. Lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, smoking cessation and reduced alcohol consumption are another important aspect of TIA treatment.
Signs and symptoms of a TIA include weakness or numbness in the extremities or on one side of the body; sudden confusion, speech difficulties or an inability to understand what others are saying; and sudden visual disturbances, according to Everyday Health. A sudden, severe headache and dizziness with loss of balance or coordination are additional symptoms. The difference between a TIA and a stroke is one of duration. TIA symptoms resolve rapidly and leave no permanent brain damage.
TIAs occur when the blood supply to the brain is temporarily cut off due to a narrowed or blocked artery, notes Mayo Clinic. This is usually due to atherosclerosis, the build up of cholesterol-laden plaques in the arteries. It may also be caused by blood clots. Other risk factors include a family history of stroke, advancing age, a history of cardiovascular disease, a history of diabetes and the presence of high levels of the amino acid homocystine in the blood. Hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle also increase risk.