Transient ischaemic attack

TIA, mini stroke

What is a transient ischaemic attack?

A transient ischaemic attack is a condition in which there is a temporary disruption to the blood and oxygen supply to part of the brain.

It is similar to a stroke but doesn’t last as long, with the effects usually lasting a few minutes to a few hours and fully resolved within a day.

What causes transient ischaemic attacks?

A transient ischaemic attack is caused by a blockage of one of the blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen-rich blood.

This is normally a result of a blood clot that has travelled to the brain from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream, but it can also be due to pieces of fatty material or air bubbles.

Certain factors increase the likelihood of a person having a transient ischaemic attack:

  • Age. People over 55 years of age are at higher risk.
  • Medical conditions. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, a type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, diabetes and obesity.
  • Lifestyle. Smoking and regularly drinking an excessive amount of alcohol.

What are the symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack?

The word FAST can be used to help you to remember the main symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack.

F- Face. The whole face or just the mouth and/or an eye may droop on one side and the person may be unable to smile.

A – Arms. Weakness or numbness in one arm resulting in the person being unable to hold their arm up and keep it there.

S – Speech. Their speech may be slurred or they may not be able to talk at all, or they may have difficulty understanding others.

T – Time. If someone is showing any symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack 999 should be called immediately.

Are you affected by transient ischaemic attack?

If you’re affected by transient ischaemic attack, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with transient ischaemic attack, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with transient ischaemic attack and their family, friends and carers from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone with a transient ischaemic attack

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with a transient ischaemic attack? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including transient ischaemic attack, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The Brain Charity’s library has a range of resources on transient ischaemic attacks and on many other related neurological conditions

Visit our library to read:

Or search the catalogue online here.

Support groups

Different Strokes

Different Strokes have a network of support groups across the UK and also have an online support group for stroke survivors.


Phone: 0345 130 7172


Think Ahead Stroke

Think Ahead Stroke offer a range of support groups and activities for those who have had a stroke.


Phone: 0194 282 4888


Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up an a TIA support group, or do you already run one? Email to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

Stroke Association

Success After Stroke