Stroke Home > Symptoms of a Mini-Stroke

Like those seen with a stroke, symptoms of a mini-stroke usually occur suddenly and may include trouble speaking, loss of balance, and confusion. The difference between symptoms of a stroke and those of a mini-stroke is a matter of duration. Stroke symptoms last for at least 24 hours, while mini-stroke symptoms often go away within 30 minutes.

Symptoms of a Mini-Stroke: An Introduction

A mini-stroke (also known as a transient ischemic attack or TIA) is a condition that results from a temporary lack of blood flow to a specific part of the brain. It differs from a stroke because of its duration. Mini-stroke symptoms typically last only a few minutes; in most cases, symptoms go away within 30 minutes, but can last for up to 24 hours. By definition, stroke symptoms last for at least 24 hours.

Specific Mini-Stroke Symptoms

The symptoms of a mini-stroke are distinct because they strike quickly. However, the specific symptoms will vary based on which part of the brain is affected. Symptoms of a mini-stroke can include a sudden appearance of:
  • Confusion
  • Trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, such as double vision, blurred vision, or blindness
  • Trouble walking or dizziness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause
  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body).
Other mini-stroke symptoms that are less common but still important include:
  • Sudden nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Brief loss of consciousness (such as fainting).

Responding Quickly to Symptoms of a Mini-Stroke

If you believe someone is having a mini-stroke -- if he or she suddenly loses the ability to speak, cannot move an arm or leg on one side, or experiences facial paralysis on one side -- call 911 immediately. Do not wait for the mini-stroke symptoms to worsen or improve. It is impossible for you to know whether these symptoms are the result of a mini-stroke or stroke.
It's important to be able to recognize the symptoms of a mini-stroke or stroke. Often, a mini-stroke is a warning sign that a person is at high risk for a serious stroke. In fact, one-third of people who have a mini-stroke will go on to have a stroke within five years; however, treatment can significantly reduce this risk.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation

Topics & Medications


Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2018 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.