A mini stroke is a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, that occurs when blood flow to the brain is stopped for a short period of time, explains Mayo Clinic. It is a sign of an impending stroke, and symptoms include weakness, numbness or paralysis in the face, arm or leg.
Other symptoms include slurred or garbled speech, dizziness, loss of balance and coordination, difficulty understanding others, and blindness in one or both eyes, according to Mayo Clinic. A mini stroke doesn't cause permanent brain damage. The symptoms begin suddenly and can last from a few minutes to a couple of hours, explains the National Center for Biotechnology.
A mini stroke can be caused by a blood clot in an artery of the brain or by a clot that travels to an artery of the brain from the body, according to the National Center for Biotechnology. Other causes include narrowing of a blood vessel in the brain or an injury to a blood vessel. Hypertension is the main risk factor for a mini stroke. Others risk factors include atrial fibrillation, diabetes, a family history of stroke, high cholesterol and smoking.
The main focus of TIA therapy is stroke prevention, and it involves the use of anti-platelet drugs, anticoagulant medications, surgery and angioplasty, notes Mayo Clinic. Commonly used antiplatelet drugs include aspirin, clopidogrel and Aggrenox, which is aspirin and dipyridamole. Anticoagulant drugs include heparin, warfarin and dabigatran.