A transient ischemic attack (TIA) occurs when the blood supply to the brain is temporarily blocked. An individual who is experiencing a TIA displays symptoms similar to those that occur with a stroke, but the event is short-lived and resolves in one to five minutes, with no subsequent brain damage. Because TIAs—also referred to as “mini-strokes” or “warning strokes”—are one of the strongest predictors of strokes for seniors, it’s important for family caregivers to learn some information about them. The more education family members have about the topic, the higher the likelihood of a positive outcome if a TIA does occur.
What Happens During a TIA?
During a TIA, just as with a stroke, a main artery to the brain is blocked by a clot, and the blood flow from that vessel is stopped. The difference between a TIA and a stroke is that when a TIA occurs, the blockage is temporary and the person’s functions return to normal.
TIAs don’t necessarily cause lasting damage, but they could indicate the onset of a major stroke attack. If mini-strokes last for over 24 hours, they often transition into regular strokes and cause lasting damage. The symptoms of TIAs are similar to those associated with strokes, but they’re usually less obvious, which means seniors can undergo multiple TIAs before anyone notices.
Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Clearwater at-home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help.
What Are the Symptoms?
TIAs can cause balance issues, dizziness, and poor coordination. If your loved one suddenly has bumps and bruises he or she can’t account for, they may be caused by TIA-related disorientation. Seniors who experience TIAs may also have speech difficulties, though not to the extent of someone having a stroke. Listen for sentences that are mostly correct but littered with the occasional slurred word or strange grammatical construction.
The signs of a TIA can be easily remembered with the acronym FAST. The letters stand for the following symptoms:
- Facial drooping
- Arm weakness
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 911
If your loved one has experienced TIAs and you’re concerned about his or her ability to continue living at home, a home caregiver can be a wonderful resource. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide in-home care. Turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
How Do I Know if It’s a TIA?
When the symptoms present themselves, there’s no way of knowing whether or not the offending clot will dissolve. The longer the brain is starved of the life-giving oxygen that’s provided by the blood, the more likely it is that permanent brain damage will occur. If your loved one is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, you should call 911 immediately.
How Serious Is a TIA?
A person who has a TIA should never take the event lightly. It’s often a warning sign of an impending stroke, and the individual should seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. This way, a doctor or specialist can offer advice on the best ways to prevent a full stroke, which will likely include a change in diet, increased exercise, and the cessation of habits such as smoking and drinking. During the time following a TIA, your family should check in with your loved one on a regular basis. If this isn’t possible, it may be beneficial to work with a professional caregiver, who can make sure your loved one is following any recommendations made by the doctor.
A caregiver can help your loved one address health challenges at home in safety and comfort. Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Clearwater families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (727) 330-7862 today