A transient ischemic attack, or TIA, is a type of stroke. They are often referred to as “mini-strokes” because they last only a few minutes to a few hours. Ischemic strokes are caused by blood clots blocking the arteries that supply blood to the brain. “FAST” is an easy way to remember the warning signs that indicate a TIA so you can be prepared for the possibility that your loved one experiences one.

F - Face. If you see your loved one experiencing facial drooping of the lips and eyes on only one side of the face, ask them to smile or purse their lips. If only half their face moves, they may be having a TIA or stroke.

A - Arms - If your loved one has trouble lifting both arms straight in front of them, their arm weakness may be a sign of a stroke.

S - Speech - If your loved one is slurring their words or is unable to speak, ask them to repeat a simple sentence. If they cannot do it, their pace is slower than usual, or they add confusing words, they may be having a stroke.

T - Time - A stroke requires immediate attention. Time is of the essence! Call 911 as soon as you can.

Apart from these three warning signs, here are more symptoms that might indicate a stroke:

  • Vision loss, blurred vision
  • Difficulty walking or balancing
  • Severe headache

A TIA can happen at any time, so be prepared to take quick action and act “FAST.”