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TIA Treatment

For people who have had a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, treatment usually involves making lifestyle changes to help prevent another TIA or a stroke. People who have had a TIA may also need medications to help prevent blood clots or to treat risk factors for a TIA or a stroke, such as high blood pressure.

An Introduction to Treating a TIA

A transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes called a mini-stroke, starts just like a stroke but then resolves, leaving no noticeable symptoms or deficits. The occurrence of a TIA is a warning that the person is at risk for a serious and debilitating stroke.


Of the approximately 50,000 Americans who have a TIA each year, about one-third will have an acute stroke sometime in the future. That is why treatment is so important. Research has shown that people who get treatment for a TIA can significantly decrease their chances for a stroke.

TIA treatment may involve the following:
  • Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, changing your diet, or increasing your physical activity
  • Medications used to help keep blood from clotting or to control TIA risk factors, such as high blood pressure or atrial fibrillation
  • A surgery or procedure to help decrease the chances of another transient ischemic attack.

Lifestyle Changes as Part of TIA Treatment

Almost everyone who has had a TIA needs to make at least some lifestyle changes as part of their treatment. These changes involve minimizing the risk factors for another TIA or even a stroke. Some of these lifestyle changes can include:
  • Eating a healthy diet to prevent or lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol (see DASH Diet or Low Cholesterol Diet).
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Exercising as directed by your doctor. Exercise is good for your overall health. It can help you lose weight, keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control, reduce stress, and lift your mood.
  • Losing weight if you are overweight or obese (see BMI Calculator to learn about what might be a healthy weight for you).
  • Cutting back on alcohol consumption if you drink heavily.
Adopting new habits, such as not smoking, following a healthy eating plan, maintaining a healthy weight, and becoming more physically active can go a long way in helping to reduce your risk of another TIA.
You will also need to manage certain medical conditions that increase your risk for another TIA. For example, if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or atrial fibrillation, you need to get these under control (see Lowering Blood Pressure, Lowering Cholesterol, Diabetes Treatment, or Atrial Fibrillation Treatment).
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