A TIA is the acronym for a transient ischemic attack. It may also be referred to as a ‘ministroke.’ It is the result of a temporary interruption of the blood flow to part of the brain, the spinal cord or the retina.
This week, a good friend of our family may have very well suffered from a TIA. As she came in to her home and began to speak, her speech was jumbled, she was not making much sense and could not think how to correct it. Thankfully, her husband’s caretaker was right on top of the situation and got her quickly to the Emergency Room at Central DuPage Hospital.
TIA symptoms resemble those of a full-fledged stroke. Thankfully the result is much more positive as no brain cells are destroyed nor is there any permanent disability. The trouble is that TIAs can repeat and with each reoccurrence, there is an increased risk of a subsequent stroke.
Caregivers really need to be on the ball. If they believe that the elder that they are caring for or their spouse has had a TIA or a stroke, they need to seek immediate medical attention! DO NOT WAIT! If the symptoms are that of a full-fledged stroke, there is a good chance that permanent damage will occur without the aid of a physician.
Most likely a series of diagnostic tests will be run. These may include a CAT scan (computerized tomography) and an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to help the professionals to determine what could have caused the issue in the first place.
If the issue is uncovered, the physician may be able to diagnose meds that could help prevent blood clots; perhaps even something as simple as an 80mg aspirin daily. If the issue is more severe, the physician could potentially do a procedure to remove fatty deposits (plaques) from the arteries that supply blood to the brain. This is termed a carotid endarterectomy.
Elderly caregivers must be alert to the many changes and potential issues that their patient may suffer. Please read up on this to make certain it does not happen to someone you love or are responsible for!