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Anon asked...

My mom had a situation where she was sitting on the couch and all of a sudden she got stiff on her right side...

Hi my mom had a situation to were she was sitting on the couch and all of a sudden she got stiff on her right side, like her arm was limp and she was asking for water by the time we got the water to her she came back to herself but she looked different in the face like you can tell something wasn't right. My sister helped her to the bathroom then she vomited. We think it was a T.I.A /Stroke but no one called 911 because it happened so fast and she came back to and she didn't want anyone to help her she kept saying she fine. She also mentioned this happen before but she never told anyone until now. So my question is it possible that she was having a mini stroke?

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The answer

A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or “Mini Stroke” is caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain. This disruption results in a lack of oxygen to the brain which can cause sudden symptoms similar to those of a stroke, such as numbness or weakness to the face, arms and legs, slurred speech and visual disturbance. A TIA does not last as long as a stroke and the effects often last a few minutes or hours and fully resolve within 24 hours.

The main symptoms of a TIA/stroke can be remembered with the word FAST:

Face – the face may drop on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.

Speech – this may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all.

Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

In the early stages of a TIA, it’s not possible to know if the person is having a TIA or a full stroke, so it’s important to call 999 and ask for an ambulance. Even if the symptoms disappear while you are waiting for the paramedics to arrive, an assessment should still be carried out.

A TIA is a warning that the person is at risk of having a full stroke and an assessment can help the doctors to determine the best way to reduce the chances of this happening. If you think you or another person has had a TIA previously but the symptoms have since passed and you didn’t seek medical advice at the time you should make an urgent appointment with the GP so they can determine whether to refer you to the hospital for further assessment and investigations.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses