Ministroke: A warning sign of a major problem

Even short-lived, subtle stroke symptoms should be evaluated.

Published: June, 2019

Imagine trying to write a note, but it feels like you're moving the pen through wet concrete. Or you suddenly can't see normally — it's as if a black curtain has dropped over one of your eyes.

If these odd symptoms last for only a few minutes, you might be tempted to brush them off and blame muscle cramps or fatigue. Don't make that mistake, says Dr. Christopher Anderson, director of Acute Stroke Services at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. Both of the above scenarios are examples of a possible transient ischemic attack (TIA), commonly referred to as a ministroke. Caused by a temporary lack of blood in part of the brain, a TIA is a warning sign that you are at risk for a stroke.

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