Symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) can clear up in a few minutes or hours without any specific treatment. But you'll need treatment to help prevent another TIA or a stroke.
A TIA is a warning sign that you're at higher risk of having a stroke. The highest risk is in the first week following the TIA.
A stroke is a serious health condition that can cause permanent disability. It can be fatal in some cases.
Get medical advice straight away if you think you have had symptoms of a TIA.
Your treatment will depend on your age and medical history. Your healthcare team can discuss treatment options with you. They can tell you about possible benefits and risks.
- lifestyle changes
Lifestyle changes that may reduce your risk of a stroke after a TIA include:
You'll usually need to take 1 or more medicines every day, long term. This is to help reduce your chances of having a stroke or another TIA.
Aspirin and other antiplatelet medicines
You may be given aspirin straight after a suspected TIA.
Aspirin is an antiplatelet medicine. It works by stopping blood cells called platelets from clotting.
You may also be given other antiplatelets, such as clopidogrel, ticagrelor or dipyridamole.
Side effects of antiplatelet medicines include indigestion and an increased risk of bleeding. For example, you may bleed for longer if you cut yourself and you may bruise easily.
Anticoagulant (blood thinning ) medicines can help to prevent blood clots.
They're usually offered to people who had a TIA that was caused by a blood clot in their heart.
A side effect of all anticoagulants is the risk of bleeding. These medicines reduce the blood's ability to clot. You may need regular blood tests while taking anticoagulants, such as warfarin. This is to make sure your dosage is correct.
Blood pressure medicines
If you have high blood pressure, you'll be given medicine to control it. This is because high blood pressure increases your risk of having a TIA or stroke.
There are different types of medicine that can help control blood pressure, including:
- angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- calcium channel blockers
- beta blockers
- thiazide diuretics
Your doctor will tell you about which medicine will work best for you. Some people may be offered a combination of 2 or more different medicines.
Statins may also help to reduce your risk of a stroke whatever your cholesterol level is. You may be offered a statin even if your cholesterol level is not particularly high.
Examples of statins given to people who have had a TIA include:
An operation called a carotid endarterectomy may be recommended after having a TIA.
Unblocking the carotid arteries can reduce the risk of having a stroke or another TIA. Carotid arteries are the main blood vessels that supply the head and neck.
A carotid endarterectomy is when part of the lining of the carotid arteries and any blockage inside them is removed.
Driving after a TIA
Although a TIA should not have a long-term impact on your daily activities, you must stop driving immediately.
If your GP thinks you have no lasting effects after 1 month, you can start driving again.
You do not need to inform the National Driving license Service (NDLS). But you should contact your car insurance company.