Signs and symptoms of a ministroke or TIA

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PHOENIX -- Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord is expected to return to work this week after suffering a transient ischemic attack (TIA), often referred to as a ministroke, during a City Council meeting last week.

During a TIA, there is a disruption of blood flow to the brain just like with a full-blown stroke. The difference is that with a TIA, the symptoms can resolve on their own, often in just a few minutes. In general, TIAs are not as destructive as a stroke. While they can cause permanent damage, they usually do not because they do not destroy brain cells.

According to Dr. Art Mollen, a TIA can be a precursor to a stroke. While generally not considered dangerous in and of themselves, TIAs -- ministrokes -- should not be ignored.

"It sounds scary. It's often a harbinger. It presages a serious heart attack or a serious stroke," Mollen explained.

"TIAs may recur and each TIA increases the risk of a subsequent stroke," wrote Dr. Jerry Swanson on

The symptoms of a TIA are similar to those of stroke, including temporary loss of vision; dizziness and confusion; difficulty speaking, writing and reading; weakness on one side of the body; numbness or tingling on one side of the body and an inability to understand people.

Doctors say you should seek immediately medical attention if you believe you might have suffered a TIA. Diagnostic tests can help determine the cause of a TIA, allowing doctors to design a treatment to prevent future incidents.

Mollen said major risk factors for heart attack and stroke include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and uncontrolled diabetes. He recommends everybody have these four things checked on a regular basis.

Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st Street, Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-656-0016 or log onto