A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is an ischemic stroke in which the blood flow is restored quickly and the symptoms disappear within 24 hours. In other words, it's a mini-stroke that you recover from quickly. For most patients with a TIA, the symptoms last less than one hour. The longer the symptoms last, the more likely that there will be permanent brain tissue injury.
TIAs affect 1 in 15 persons over age 65 years, but often go undiagnosed if the symptoms are not recognized. Approximately 15% of strokes are preceded by a warning TIA. Therefore, recognition of TIA symptoms is important because preventative treatment may help to reduce the chance of an impending stroke.
The risk of stroke is highest within the first 3 months following a TIA, especially within the first few days. Within the first month, the average risk of stroke after a TIA ranges from 1 in 20 to 1 in 10. TIAs and strokes generally occur in people with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or coronary artery disease. In fact, people who have suffered TIAs are even more likely to die of heart attack than of stroke.