What is a mini stroke?

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A mini stroke or transient ischemic attack could not be distinguished from an ischemic stroke in up to 24 hours. It is vital that you are aware of the differences between the two.

Is there a difference?

During the initial 24 hours, an ischemic stroke and mini stroke are practically identical to one another. A simple description of a mini stroke is something that appears similar to a stroke but subsides after 24 hours. It is not certain if it is a mini stroke or a full-blown stroke once it starts, it is only known after 24 hours.

Mini stroke
During the initial 24 hours, an ischemic stroke and mini stroke are practically identical to one another.

Both ischemic and mini stroke occur due to a blockage in an artery or arteries that reduces the flow of blood to the brain. The difference with a mini stroke is mechanism of the body that dissolves blood clots. Eventually, the affected artery opens up again and the symptoms subside.

Just remember that a mini stroke is often known as a “warning stroke” since the body sends out a signal that there is a risk for a stroke or a heart attack. The clot responsible for the condition might dissolved on its own, but if the arteries are filled with plaque, it is just a matter of time before more breaks loose from the arterial wall. As a result, blood cells form around it to develop a clot and it results to a stroke or heart attack.

What are the indications?

The signs and symptoms of a mini stroke is similar to a stroke. If an individual is suspected of having one, the “BE FAST” acronym is used:

  • Balance – sudden loss of coordination or balance
  • Eyes – distorted vision, abrupt loss of vision or blind spots in one eye
  • Face – drooping of one side of the mouth if the individual is asked to smile
  • Arms – one arm moves down if both arms are raised over the head
  • Speech – slurred speech
  • Time – if any of these symptoms are present, call for emergency assistance right away.


A mini stroke usually subsides on its own. The treatment for the condition might be based on managing the condition responsible such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. In most cases, the doctor will prescribe an antiplatelet or anticoagulant medication.

The prevention of a future attack is largely a matter of lifestyle choices made by an individual. The usual measures include cessation of smoking, reduced intake of fat and cholesterol, regular exercise and cutting down weight. If these are followed along with the prescribed medications, the risk of having a stroke is drastically reduced.

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