When it comes to a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, prevention of such an attack begins with understanding the factors that may increase your risk for a TIA. While some risk factors for a TIA cannot be controlled, many (such as high blood pressure) can be treated or controlled. For most people, TIA prevention starts with lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet. In some cases, doctors may recommend medications (such as warfarin) or procedures (such as a carotid endarterectomy) to help prevent TIAs.
An Overview of TIA PreventionThere is an old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is definitely the case with preventing a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A person can lower his or her chances of having such an attack by understanding TIA and the risk factors for it, and then using that knowledge to make good decisions to control TIA risk factors.
Why is TIA prevention important? Because one-third of people who have a TIA will go onto have a stroke within five years. Through effective treatment of TIA risk factors, this risk can be significantly decreased.
The steps for effective TIA prevention involve:
- Knowing your TIA risk factors
- Monitoring your health and making lifestyle changes
- Possibly taking medication or undergoing a procedure
- Knowing signs of a TIA or stroke (see TIA Symptoms or Stroke Symptoms).
TIA Prevention: Know the Risk FactorsTIA prevention begins by knowing the risk factors for TIA. Risk 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. Also, the more risk factors you have, the greater your risk of having a TIA.
Risk factors for TIA that you can do something about include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Other types of heart diseases
- Carotid artery disease
- Sleep apnea
- Heavy consumption of alcohol
- Drug abuse.
There are also things that you can control that increase your risk for developing conditions that may increase your risk of experiencing a TIA. These include:
- Being overweight or obese
- A lack of physical activity
- Having an unhealthy diet.
(Click TIA Risk Factors to learn about other risk factors, including risk factors that you cannot control.)