How do you spot a TIA

Ok crew :slight_smile:

Let’s see if we can’t do something helpful for reducing the number of future members .

How does one spot a TIA?

What does it feel like?

How can it be described?

How do folk at risk who receive this early warning sign recognise it as a wake-up call -

I didn’t, multiple times nor did my GP MULTIPLE TIMES

How can we communicate to medical professionals so they do recognise there is something to be investigated

I think an acronym or other guidance that would detect TIAs is much much better than FAST which merely tells you (or a loved one) “oh ----, too late”

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I imagine, like a stroke, the warning signs are different for everyone and for some there may not be any warning signs. Beyond that I can’t offer anything helpful as, as far as i’m aware, I haven’t had a TIA.

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That’s likely all true

And in aggregate we will identify the ways in which they manifest and from that we might be able to identify something useful

least ways let’s try


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Symptoms of a TIA

In the moment, you may not know whether you’re having a mini-stroke or a full stroke because many of the signs are the same. You can remember the warning signs and symptoms of stroke with the BE FAST acronym:

  • Balance problems: Are you dizzy? Have you fallen?
  • Eyesight issues: Have you lost your eyesight? Is your vision blurry?
  • Facial weakness: Can you smile? Are your ears or eyes drooping?
  • Arm weakness: Can you raise both arms normally? Do you have any muscle numbness or tingling?
  • Speech problems: Can you speak clearly? Can others understand you? Can you understand them?
  • Time to seek immediate medical attention if any of these signs are present. Every minute matters.

Symptoms of a TIA appear suddenly and may disappear just as quickly. People often mistake them for a migraine or a pinched nerve. Other stroke symptoms include numbness or tingling on one side of the body, memory loss, and confusion.


I m guessing … you’ve given us the textbook answer of somebody’s website ?

What I’m asking for is what actually were our real experiences because the textbooks don’t match the reality very well - ime


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@SimonInEdinburgh my friend had a TIA about 5 years ago. He just woke up to what he described as partly greyed out vision in one eye. He dialled 999 and they took him in and confirmed a TIA.
A scan showed 50 per cent stenosis in the left carotid which they decided to monitor until there were any other symptoms. I pointed out that the next symptom could likely be a stroke and I wouldn’t like to see him end up like me, but he’s reluctant to ask them to re-scan him and check the current state of his artery. He’s convinced himself that the statins and clopidogrel will have cleared it by now.

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I had a TIA in the early 90’s. I was getting ready for work and was drying my hair, my left arm went numb for a few seconds and I dropped the hairdryer. Phoned my Mum and she called an ambulance as there was a history of stroke in my family. Spent a night in hospital but no tests done and no lasting effects at all. Doctor said it was down to stress as I had got married a few months before and had just got a promotion which resulted in working stupid hours. I was given no medication, which was a shame, as it transpired I had a problem with narrow arteries. If I’d been taking a blood thinner, chances are I wouldn’t have had a stroke 30 years later.


I had a TIA two days before I had a stroke. Sadly, I didn’t recognise it as such and it was only with hindsight that I realised what it was.

I experienced a numbness down one side (not enough to cause me to fall) that lasted maybe an hour. It was first thing in the morning and started while I was in the shower. I even mentioned it to my partner and neither of us thought it was of any concern. I then went to work and had a normal day (again with hindsight my last normal working day).

At the time I described it as a “funny turn”. I remember feeling a bit otherworldly for a short time but once at work I didn’t give it another thought.

What might have helped me is being aware that having a TIA/stroke isn’t peculiar to old people. I vaguely remember my dad having a TIA, which luckily didn’t result in a stroke, but he was fairly old at the time. I was 60 when I had mine and was fit and active. I know that I wasn’t a young person but my perception of strokes was that old people had them.

I do wish I’d sought medical attention after the TIA as that might have prevented my stroke.

Not sure this helps with what you’re laudably trying to do @SimonInEdinburgh. I do admire your passion for helping others, it’s so worthwhile.


So my TIA was very difficult to pinpoint exactly when it happened. I was out as normal on the Saturday, been to work, felt fine. Driving about 8pm that evening, slowly getting a headache, so felt like a migraine. I did notice my left hand gripping the steering wheel felt odd, not numbness but more a pain in my hand the harder i gripped. A few hours later felt physically sick, but wasn’t. Didn’t think much more of it and went to bed. Next morning symptoms of numbness in my face and speech gone were more obvious.


Thanks for contributing

When I had MRI - due to joining a research project they discovered mutiple previous stroke/Tia neither I or GP recognised.

I’d been to GP saying I felt ‘spacey’ - which might be ‘otherworldly’ - it’s sort of light headed but not dizzy - on the way to being feint. I’ve had visual disturbance to. Center of vision missing, zigzag optical migrain lines.

At the start of the ‘significant’ stroke I was banging into things on my right hand side, but that’s all, 36hrs later I lost coordination to brush my teeth & 12 hrs after that my limbs on the right didn’t move.

This pattern adds to anxiety now. The feelings where subtle, slow & progressive - hard to tell if they had changed - and I still get them :frowning: almost all this week for example…

GP tomorrow - won’t be surprised if I’m more aware than they are about the range of ambiguous indications - wish me luck:)

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I had a TIA at the beginning of October - it was completely out of the blue - I’d actually had an annual check up at my GPs a couple of weeks before and been given a clean bill of health.
I had no previous symptoms and had been sitting watching tv but when I got up my left arm was floppy and I couldn’t control it. I also had tingling on the left side of my face and my left leg wouldn’t support my weight. As it was all one sided I immediately suspected a stroke and rang 111; but there were no prior indications or symptoms- I only wish there had been so I could have avoided it!


Hi @Ann1

Welcome to the community that runs on this forum - although I am sorry you have had cause to join.

If you have no ongoing consequences then it truly was a T for temporary TIA. Has your GP or other medical staff warned you that a TIA is the early warning sign? To a neurological event with a permanent consequences - so should be taken seriously as a ‘wake up’ call (although wake up in the context of no underlying lifestyle issues isn’t the right word)

Hopefully they’re checking you out for a PFO / hole in the heart, diabetes, sticky blood, arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, hypertension etc etc - although a TIA does not necessarily sign post one of these conditions and may not herald a stroke.

Seems your TIA manifestation was reasonably matched to the BEFAST acronym. Was it a diagnosed via CT or MRI?

I guess if you’ve known ongoing consequences such as fatigue or weakness or confusion or anxiety then much of what we have built up here has a community resource is happily not relevant to you :slight_smile: The caring community perhaps will be though :slight_smile:



Thanks @SimonInEdinburgh. It was diagnosed through an MRI (it didn’t show up on a CAT scan); I had a few tests whilst an inpatient on the local stroke ward and heart screening as an outpatient; I was given an ongoing blood thinning prescription from the hospital and a statin prescription from my gp. I’ve taken it was very much a warning and have looked at my diet to cut down cholesterol and my work hours to cut down stress! It’s strange to suddenly find myself as a patient having been a generally fit person all my life.


@Ann1 hi & welcome to the forum. Sorry you’ve had a TIA. Sounds like you have taken the warning & made some changes to lower the risk of anything else happening. You can’t really do any more. It really does come as a surprise doesn’t it especially when you’ve been given a clean bill of health just a short while before. I was at my fittest when my stroke struck. Took me ages to believe i had had a stroke.

Sounds like you’ve had lots of tests to rule out anything else going on.

Wishing you all the best.

Ann x

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I had a TIA a few days before Christmas. I thought My symptoms were a detached retina, because as I was blowing my nose vigorously I suddenly had thick grey clouds across one eye. They disappeared over the next ten minutes and I popped into my optician to try to get it checked. They were about to close for Christmas and so just asked me a few questions and told me to go straight to the emergency eye unit. That was were they said it was a TIA. Subsequent visit to the Brainsafe unit found artherosclerosis in my neck and high blood pressure.

I would never have thought that my symptoms were a TIA, particularly as I’m not particularly in a risk category (I’m 60, lifelong vegetarian, lifelong non-smoker, teetotal, fit and active, low cholesterol levels).

I’m just incredibly lucky that the optician sent me straight to emergency care.

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I see you already liked the welcome post so you probably got a pretty good idea of how to use the forum.

If you haven’t already you will soon discover though while many stroke survivors are of advanced years strokes effects everyone from the unborn onward. There are many here who have no risk factors but yet they are here out of need .

I suspect you may be checked for arterial fibrillation and a hole in the heart, restricted cardioid artery flow and other things - but they could easily show nothing suspicious .

Almost certainly your bucket of pills contains either an antiplatelet or a blood thinner, an anti-cholesterol, a stomach protector, maybe a blood pressure reducer. These are generally prescribed as an automatic reaction.

The folk on here are a great bunch when you want to share your recovery victories or your frustrations anxiety anger, ask questions and share your experiences with others who will be asking questions in the future :slight_smile:

There’s a lot of knowledge and even more empathy amongst participants here.

Hopefully you really have had a TIA where the t stands for temporary

Welcome to the club


@MERR just popping by to say hi & welcome to the forum although sorry you’ve had cause to join us.

It seems there are many “symptoms” of a TIA/Stroke which is why it is so difficult to spot them at times.

Good on your optician for providing some good advice & on you for visiting them so prompyky.
Hopefully now you’ve had some tests they’ll be able to treat you appropriately.

Good luck with everything & look forward to hearing more from you.

Best wishes



My mri after stroke showed id had a previous “incident”. Thinking about it, i woke up with slight slurring to my speach which lasted about 30 mins then went. That was a month before the stroke. I thought nothing of it… just shows awareness is key.
Loved your comments about age and how you feel. After stroke put on a geriatric ward. I was a bit perturbed and asked why are you putting me here. Nurse said well you are 67! I just didnt feel like i was a geriatric😎


Hi @Chrisfw - I think the NHS categorises elderly as 65 and over, when the reality for a lot of people is that they still feel young(ish) at that age. I’d feel like you did if I had to stay on a geriatric ward.

When I had my annual medical review last month I was surprised to be asked questions relating to falls and memory, but then realised it was because I was 65. My memory was good enough that I knew they hadn’t asked at the previous review!

The puzzling thing is that although the NHS treats you as elderly once you’re 65, people don’t currently receive state pension until they reach 66 (and that will increase over the next few years). Bit of an anomaly there.


Yep the NHS has some anachronisms! :slight_smile:
Bits somewhere between the 19th century with a few breaking into the 20th century :slight_smile:
Eg sending letters through the snail mail

Isolated elements of technology in the 21st century although most of us won’t have access to that technology in our lifetimes !

And the general knowledge level stuck in the mid 20th century eg “FAST is a good test for stroke”

Hey ho !