Providence TIA Clinic
The stroke specialists at Providence TIA Clinic provide urgent diagnoses and treatment to reduce future risk of stroke. After a first TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack), getting a rapid evaluation and taking early action may reduce future disability, hospital admission and vascular complication.
Our team is dedicated and highly trained to not only provide rapid care, but to educate patients on managing stroke risks factors and identifying symptoms.
If you are referred to the Providence TIA Clinic, you will be seen by a neurologist or nurse practitioner that specializes in stroke and TIA. They will:
- Complete a thorough history of your recent TIA as well as a neurologic exam
- Review any imaging, lab and other diagnostic work that has already been completed
- Determine if additional testing should be done to diagnose the cause of your TIA
What is a TIA?
A TIA is a transient ischemic attack. This results when blood flow to the brain is temporarily interrupted causing symptoms, but does not cause permanent damage. These are sometimes referred to as a “warning stroke” or a “mini stroke.” It is important not to ignore a TIA because they may lead to serious stroke. A TIA is a medical emergency, and you should call 911 if you are having any symptoms of a stroke.Stroke symptoms
Remembering B.E. F.A.S.T. is an easy way to quickly identify the early warning signs of a stroke.
Balance: Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Eyes: Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eye
Face: Facial weakness, uneven smile
Arm: Weakness, unable to raise both arms evenly
Speech: Impaired, slurred, difficulty repeating simple phrases
Time: Call 911 immediately
What type of tests might be done if you have a TIA?
Your doctor will likely start by getting your medical history and asking about the symptoms that happened when you had your TIA. A neurological examination will be performed, and blood tests may also be ordered to help with a diagnosis. Some tests look at blood flow to determine if there is a narrowing or blockage which may be limiting the amount of blood getting to the brain. Other tests may be done to help assist with a diagnosis after a TIA.
- A CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) are like an x-ray of the brain and look to see if there is current or previous damage
- Carotid ultrasound (CUS) is an ultrasound probe placed on the neck that can see how much blood is flowing in a blood vessel supplying the brain
- Computed Tomography Angiogram (CTA) uses dye that is injected to look at blood flow directly in the brain
- ECG (electrocardiogram) (ECG) or a long-term heart monitor that looks to see if you have an irregular heart rhythm, which can increase your risk of a TIA or stroke
If there is a narrowing in the blood vessels supplying the brain, your doctor can talk with you about the many options for treatment.
What medications will I take?
After a TIA you may be prescribed an antiplatelet medication such as aspirin, clopidogrel or ticagrelor which helps prevent blood clots from forming in the vessels that supply blood to the brain. If you have an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, your doctor may discuss prescribing an anticoagulant to reduce your future risk of TIA or stroke.
Statin medications are used to reduce your risk of TIA or stroke by lowering your cholesterol and may be recommended by your doctor. If you are prescribed medications for high blood pressure or diabetes, make sure to take your medications. Controlling your high blood pressure and diabetes reduces your risk of having a TIA or stroke in the future.
What can I do to prevent a TIA?
- Control you blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly and talk with your doctor about your numbers.
- Quit smoking! Talk with your doctor if you need to quit smoking.
- Know your cholesterol numbers. Reduce your LDL cholesterol which is considered the “bad” cholesterol.
- If you have diabetes work closely with your doctor to manage your blood sugar.
- Eat a diet low in saturated fat that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. If you eat meat, eat more seafood and poultry and avoid red meat. Watch the amount of salt in your diet and avoid prepared and processed foods.
- Get regular exercise, like walking most days of the week.
- Watch your weight. Try to lower your BMI (Body Mass Index) to less than 25.
- Limit alcohol intake