Following a transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke, patients should avoid unhealthy diets, significant alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and inactivity, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Avoiding these things helps prevent more severe symptoms in the future.
As patients move away from unhealthy foods, they cut back on their consumption of cholesterol and fat, says Mayo Clinic. Saturated and trans fats are most harmful, because they contribute to plaque formation in arteries. Patients who also have high blood pressure must limit their sodium intake. Caffeine and refined foods, including products made with white flour or sugar, should be dropped, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends. The intake of red meat should also be reduced.
Alcohol is sometimes eliminated completely. If not, women should limit themselves to one drink per day, while men should not have more than two drinks, suggests Mayo Clinic. For some patients, inactivity contributes to high blood pressure, so a regular exercise routine is adopted. The goal is 30 minutes per day, five times weekly, advises the UMMC.
TIA patients are often given medications to help prevent future problems. These include drugs to thin the blood, prevent blood clotting or stop platelet clumping, explains UMMC. Sometimes surgery is needed to clear plaque from the carotid artery in the neck.