The symptoms of a transient ischemic attack include a sudden numbness, tingling, weakness and loss of function in the face, arm or leg, states WebMD. Other symptoms include a sudden change in vision, slurred or garbled speech, confusion, difficulty understanding commands and problems walking.
A transient ischemic attack does not cause permanent damage, and symptoms usually disappear in 10 to 20 minutes, explains WebMD. About 10 out of 100 people experience a stoke within two days, and 17 out of 100 people have a stroke in the first 90 days after an attack. It is important to seek medical help to determine the cause of the symptoms and to prevent a stroke in the future.
Medical tests that help determine the cause of a transient ischemic attack include a physical exam, carotid ultrasonography, computerized tomography angiography, magnetic resonance angiography and arteriography, according to Mayo Clinic. These tests examine the blood supply to the brain and detect narrowing and occlusion of the arteries. Computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging help find damage caused by a stroke, and an echocardiogram looks for clots in the heart.
The risk factors for a transient ischemic attack include hypertension, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol levels, excessive alcohol consumption, being overweight and physical inactivity, notes WebMD. Other risk factors include a family history of transient ischemic attacks, advanced age, a previous history of the condition and sickle cell disease.