Things That Increase Your Risk of TIA and Possible Signs
Risk FactorsRisk factors are conditions or behaviors that increase your chances of getting a certain disease. Some TIA risk factors can be treated or controlled and some cannot. The more risk factors you have, the greater your risk of having a TIA. That's because risk factors tend to "gang up" and worsen each other's effects. Finally, the higher your level of each risk factor, the greater your risk of having a TIA.
TIA risk factors that you cannot change include:
- Age (risk tends to increase with age)
- Being male
- Being African American
- Having a family history of TIA
- Having had a TIA or heart attack in the past.
Some of the most important treatable or controllable risk factors for TIA are:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Certain other heart diseases
- Carotid artery disease
- Sleep apnea
- Heavy consumption of alcohol
- Drug abuse.
(Click TIA Risk Factors for more information on these specific risk factors.)
The symptoms of a TIA are distinct because they happen quickly. However, the specific symptoms will vary based on which part of the brain is affected. TIA symptoms can include:
- Sudden confusion
- Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes (such as double vision, blurred vision, or blindness)
- Sudden trouble walking or dizziness
- Sudden loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body).
Other possible symptoms of a TIA that are less common, but still important, are sudden nausea, vomiting, and brief loss of consciousness or decreased consciousness (such as fainting).
If you suspect you or someone else is experiencing one or more of these symptoms of TIA, call 911 immediately. Do not wait for the symptoms to worsen or improve. It is impossible for you to know whether these are TIA symptoms or something more serious (such as a stroke).
(Click TIA Symptoms for more detailed information on the symptoms that may occur.)