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mini stroke is serious warning sign

‘Mini Stroke’ Is Serious Warning Sign

March 21, 2019

Make lifestyle changes to help avoid life-altering consequences.

Q: My father-in-law had a "mini stroke." What is that?

"It's called a transient ischemic stroke, or TIA. When deprived even briefly of blood, oxygen and nutrients, brain cells begin to die. With a TIA, the blocked artery is caused by a clot that usually lasts less than five minutes, typically without causing permanent brain damage," says board-certified cardiologist Rohan Wagle, M.D. "However, I characterize a TIA as a 'warning stroke' to be taken seriously as it significantly increases the risk of having a complete stroke with life-altering consequences."

TIA symptoms

"Sudden onset of symptoms, though short-lived, usually include temporary loss of vision; difficulty speaking; and weakness, numbness or tingling on one side of the body," Dr. Wagle says. "Lingering symptoms, such as lightheadedness, could take longer to subside."

Are you at risk?

Dr. Wagle says risk factors include:

  • A family history of stroke or TIA.
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure. Having diabetes.
  • Using tobacco.
  • Frequent headaches.


He says studies suggest lifestyle changes that may reduce risks include:

  • Avoiding tobacco.
  • Eating healthy high-fiber foods, while limiting sodium and fats.
  • Exercising regularly – not just being a weekend warrior.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Controlling blood pressure and glucose level.

"Regular medical exams that identify and address risk factors in the early stages can help reduce the occurrence of strokes and other cardiovascular calamities," concludes Dr. Wagle.

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