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A stroke can be devastating not only for the person who gets one, but for the entire family. This unfortunate episode can result in premature death and lifelong disability.

By Dr. Abhinav Raina

A stroke can be devastating not only for the person who gets one, but for the entire family. This unfortunate episode can result in premature death and lifelong disability.

In India, the incidence rate of stroke is estimated to be 119 to 145 per 100,000 people and we see 1.44 to 1.64 million cases of strokes annually. Sometimes when we do not heed the warning signs of stroke, we end up becoming victims of this devastating episode. One such sign is the Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) or mini-stroke. It has been observed that the risk of stroke in the first three months after a TIA is 2-17 percent. About 33 percent of those with a history of TIA have a major stroke within a year without any treatment.

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TIA cause

When the blood flow to the brain cuts off for a short while (less than 5 minutes) it causes a transient neurological symptom same as is observed in stroke but are rapidly reversible. This is known as TIA. TIA is also referred to as mini-stroke because it is like a miniature version of a full-blown stroke. It causes less damage but it sure needs emergency care without delay.

Difference from stroke

When an artery that is supplying blood to the brain gets blocked due to a blood clot, it causes oxygen starvation resulting in TIA. In a TIA, such a temporary clog is usually pushed along and is broken down. Thus, the normal flow of blood to the brain returns quickly. Symptoms of a TIA usually subside within an hour (typically less than 15 minutes) but may last up to 24 hours in some cases. Quite contrary, in an ischemic stroke, the brain is oxygen-deprived for a longer period. This causes more damage and brings long-lasting effects that can be fatal and cause permanent disability or death.

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