Learning the Signs of a TIA to Keep Seniors Safe
Slurred speaking. A numb feeling on one side of the body. Confusion. Sounds like a stroke, right? However, if those stroke-like symptoms subside rather quickly and are relatively minor, they may be the result of a TIA (transient ischemic attack). But before breathing a sigh of relief and going about life as usual, it is vital to understand the facts about TIAs, the signs of a TIA, and why they should always be brought to the attention of a doctor right away.
What Is a TIA?
TIAs result from a blocked blood vessel that temporarily interferes with the flow of blood to the brain. The signs can look similar to that of a stroke, but they go away quickly without causing long-term neurological concerns or brain damage. Consequently, many people shrug them off and do not seek medical care.
Why Tell the Doctor About a TIA?
Think of a TIA as a critical “check engine” light in your automobile. Although you can still drive the vehicle, ignoring that light could be detrimental. After a TIA has transpired, there is a 10 – 20% risk of stroke in the next 7 days, and a 9 – 17% risk in 90 days.
Additionally, TIA and stroke symptoms are so similar that it’s difficult to determine which condition is occurring at first. Immediate medical attention is crucial in the event of a stroke. The longer left without treatment, the more damage a stroke can cause to the brain, and the more extreme and long-lasting the problems might 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 the Following Steps if You Suspect a TIA
If you notice the indicators below that may signify either a TIA or stroke, call 911 immediately. A trip to the E/R can allow for imaging and other tests to look at the brain and blood vessels, determine the cause of the event, and then begin a treatment plan. Treating a TIA is different from treating a stroke, so a speedy and accurate diagnosis is vital.
The most recent guidelines to check for signs of a TIA or stroke follow the acronym BE FAST:
- B: Balance. Is the person having trouble standing up?
- E: Eyes. Is the person having vision problems?
- F: Face. Is one side of the person’s face drooping?
- A: Arms. Is the person experiencing weakness or numbness in one arm?
- S: Speech. Is the person having trouble speaking, or are words slurred?
- T: Timing. Call 911 immediately, and note the time the symptoms started.
Home Care Will Help!
Endeavor In-Home Care can help adults before, during, or after a TIA or stroke in multiple ways, such as:
- Offering accompanied transportation to medical appointments and procedures
- Making sure that recommended lifestyle modifications are followed by preparing healthy meals, motivation for recommended physical fitness plans, etc.
- 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 just as the physician has directed
- And many more
Call us at (480) 498-2324 or contact us online to request your free in-home assessment to learn more about our at home care in Phoenix and the surrounding areas.