A TIA places you at greater risk for having a stroke. The risk is actually highest in the first week after your TIA. Therefore, rapid treatment aims to decrease stroke risk. This can be done with lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery. If the cause of the TIA is a treatable condition it must be promptly treated. Specific conditions include:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Severe anemia
- Regular exercise
- Appropriate dietary changes—low in saturated fat and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
- Other lifestyle interventions
In addition, doctors often prescribe medication to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. This will help lower these risk factors. Most also prescribe aspirin or other drugs to decrease the risk of clot formation. It is still unclear whether the use of several drugs together offers benefit over aspirin alone.
If the carotid artery on the same side as the TIA is 70% blocked or more, doctors may recommend:
- A carotid endarterectomy —to remove the plaque deposits
- Other less invasive procedures
These procedures can sometimes cause strokes. It is not routinely done if there are no symptoms and less than 70% blockage.