Knowing the Signs of a TIA Can Save a Life

Senior woman sitting down with a hand on her chest
Learn the signs of a TIA to help keep aging adults safe.

Numbness on one side of the body. Confusion. Slurred words. This could be a stroke, right?  Actually, if those stroke-like signs subside rather rapidly and are rather minor, they may be signs of a TIA (transient ischemic attack). Before you heave a sigh of relief, though, it’s important to know the facts about TIAs and why a health care professional should be made aware immediately.

What Is a TIA?

TIAs are the result of a blood vessel that is blocked and temporarily obstructs the flow of blood to the brain. Signs of a TIA look very similar to the symptoms of a stroke, but TIA symptoms are resolved quickly and will not cause long-lasting neurological concerns or brain damage. Consequently, many people shrug them off and do not seek medical care.

Why Alert the Doctor About a TIA?

Think of a TIA as the body’s “check engine” light. Though you may perhaps still be able to drive the car, ignoring the warning could result in catastrophe. There is a 10-20% risk of a stroke within the next week after a TIA has occurred, and there is a 9-17% risk within 90 days.

Also, because TIA and stroke symptoms are so much alike, you can’t tell initially which condition is occurring. In the event of a stroke, immediate medical attention is critical. The longer left untreated, the more harm a stroke can cause to the brain, and the more significant and long-lasting the damage may be.

Chris Streib, MD, Neurologist at M Health Fairview, shares, “In some ways, people who have a TIA are actually very fortunate. It’s a warning that they are at high risk of a stroke that could cause permanent deficits. They have a chance to make immediate lifestyle and medication change to reduce their risk of an actual stroke.”

Take These Steps if You Suspect a TIA

If you have seen any of the TIA signs below in an aging adult, call 911 immediately. A trip to the emergency room can allow for imaging and other tests to view the brain and blood vessels, identify the cause of the event, and then start a treatment plan. Receiving a correct diagnosis in a timely manner is vital because treatment for a TIA is different from that of a stroke.

The most recent guidelines to check for TIA or stroke symptoms follow the acronym BE FAST:

  • B: Is the person struggling to walk or stand up?
  • E: Is the person having vision problems?
  • F: Is one side of the person’s face drooping?
  • A: Is the person experiencing weakness or numbness in one arm?
  • S: Is the person having trouble speaking, or are words slurred?
  • T: Call 911 immediately, and note the time the symptoms started.
Home Care Can Help!

Heaven at Home Senior Care’s home care in Denton and the nearby areas helps seniors before, during, or after a TIA or stroke in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Providing accompanied transportation to doctor appointments and procedures
  • Monitoring for changes in condition and arranging for immediate emergency medical treatment if any concerning signs are noted
  • Providing medication reminders so medicines are taken exactly as the doctor has ordered
  • Ensuring recommended lifestyle changes are implemented by preparing healthy and balanced meals, motivation for advised physical fitness plans, etc.
  • And many more

Contact us online or at (940) 380-0500 to learn more about how a home health aide in Denton and the nearby areas from Heaven at Home can help a senior you love and to schedule your free in-home assessment.