A ministroke, or transient ischemic attack (TIA), occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked temporarily. It often causes one or two symptoms of a full-blown stroke — such as sudden face drooping, arm or leg weakness, confusion, slurred speech, or terrible headache — and typically lasts just a few minutes. If you've had a TIA, you are at much higher risk for subsequently suffering a full-blown stroke. So when you have symptoms that might indicate a TIA — or a full-blown stroke — call 911. You may need brain imaging to tell whether a stroke has occurred and what type of stroke it is, so you can get immediate treatment for a stroke. If it's a TIA, you may need additional treatments to prevent a future stroke. Unfortunately, most people who experience symptoms of ministrokes don't call 911 for help, according to results of a survey from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA), published online May 1, 2017. Of the 2,000 people who took the AHA/ASA survey, about 35% said they'd experienced a TIA symptom. But only 3% of that group called 911. As a result, some likely suffered preventable permanent brain damage.
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