The symptoms of a TIA are the same as those of a stroke, but unlike a stroke they only last for a few minutes or hours.
Like a stroke, the signs and symptoms of a TIA usually begin suddenly.
The main symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time.
- Face – has the face dropped on one side? Is one side of the smile droopy?
- Arms – can both arms be lifted about the head and kept there, or is one arm weak or numb?
- Speech – is speech slurred or garbled?
- Time – lost time is lost brain. Dial 111 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
It's not possible to tell the difference between TIA and stroke in the early stages, so urgent medical help must be sought if any of the signs and symptoms above are noticed.
Even if the symptoms have stopped before help arrives, you should still go to hospital for assessment. TIA is a warning sign that stroke is going to happen in the near future. Getting checked out gives your medical team the chance to determine the best way to lower the risk of this happening.
If you think you may have had a TIA previously and didn't get it checked out, make an appointment to see your doctor urgently. They will assess whether you need to go to hospital for further assessment.