Get emergency help if you have symptoms of a stroke, even if they last only a few minutes. Such short-lasting symptoms (less than 24 hours) indicate that a person has had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes called a mini-stroke.
The symptoms of a TIA are similar to those of a full-blown stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, one arm, or one leg;
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding;
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of coordination;
- or sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Many people with TIAs do not seek immediate medical attention, which is dangerous because they have a 10 to 20 percent chance of developing a full-blown stroke during the next month; drug treatment can often prevent this.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.