Understanding Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): Causes and Risk Factors

A mild stroke, medically known as a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), is a temporary period of a regular stroke.


Quoting Mayo Clinic, a TIA usually lasts only a few minutes and does not cause permanent damage, unlike a regular stroke.

Often referred to as a mini-stroke, this condition can serve as a warning sign of an impending permanent stroke.

Around 1 in 3 individuals who experience a mild stroke will eventually go on to have a permanent stroke.

This can happen within a year after experiencing a mild stroke.

This article will explore the various causes of a mild stroke that you need to be aware of to prevent it.

Causes of a Mild Stroke

Quoting Healthline, the primary cause of a mild stroke is the presence of blood clots in the arteries leading to the brain.

When there's a blood clot in the artery supplying the brain, the blood flow carrying the required oxygen becomes disrupted.

In a mild stroke, the blood clot that blocks the oxygen supply is temporary and quickly disappears.

Often, the accumulation of fat (plaque) in the arteries is the cause of blood clots and mild strokes.

Small brain hemorrhages can also cause mild strokes, but this is rare.

Factors that can increase the likelihood of blood clots as the cause of a mild stroke include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Artery narrowing caused by plaque buildup (atherosclerosis) in the brain
  • Diabetes

Risk Factors for a Mild Stroke

According to Mayo Clinic and Healthline, there are several risk factors for a mild stroke that you should pay attention to.

Modifiable Risk Factors for a Mild Stroke:

  1. Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of blood clotting, raises blood pressure, and contributes to the development of cholesterol-containing fat deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis).
  2. Unhealthy dietary choices: This includes foods high in sugar, salt, and fats. These dietary choices raise the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and other metabolic issues.
  3. Obesity or overweight: A risk factor for diabetes and other chronic diseases that can cause a mild stroke or permanent stroke.
  4. Lack of exercise: 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise almost every day helps reduce the risk.
  5. Alcohol consumption: This can lead to high blood pressure.
  6. Drug use: Drugs like cocaine are associated with an increased risk of TIA or stroke.

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors for a Mild Stroke:

  1. Age: Your risk of experiencing a mild stroke increases with age, especially after the age of 55.
  2. Family history: Your risk may be higher if a family member has experienced a mini-stroke or stroke.
  3. Gender: Men have a slightly higher risk of TIA and stroke. However, as women age, the risk of stroke increases.

By understanding the causes and risk factors of a mild stroke, the best course of action is prevention.

This can be achieved through adopting a healthier lifestyle and regular health check-ups.

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