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Transient Ischemic Attack Causes & Risks


A TIA results from a temporary blockage of the blood supply to the brain. The carotid artery in the front of the neck is a major supply of blood to the brain. A build-up of plaque and hardening of this artery can slow or stop blood flow.

Reasons for the blockage may include:

  • A blood clot or a piece of plaque (called an embolus) from inside the wall of an artery breaks off and blocks blood flow to a portion of the brain.
  • A blood clot dislodges from the heart and moves to the brain.
  • Temporary low blood pressure in the brain may occur due to narrowed arteries in the neck.
  • Blood and blood-clotting disorders such as:
    • Anemia (too few red blood cells)
    • Polycythemia (too many red blood cells)
    • Hyperviscosity (abnormal thickening of the blood)
  • Vasculitis or blood vessel inflammation
  • Endocarditis (infection of the lining of the heart)

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance for TIA and stroke are similar:

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Transient Ischemic Attack Guide

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