It may be called mini, but that doesn\u2019t mean it isn\u2019t serious. What is a mini-stroke, and how is it different from its full-blown counterpart?\nA mini-stroke, or transient ischemic attack (TIA), happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off for a short time, usually because a blood clot gets stuck in an artery.\nAlthough it doesn\u2019t usually cause permanent damage, a mini-stroke can be a warning sign that a full-blown stroke is looming. About one in three people who have a TIA go on to have a stroke, often within the next few years.\nIn a stroke, the blood supply is cut off for a longer period of time than in a TIA and causes permanent damage.\nTo learn more about transient ischemic attack prevention and treatment, visit the UPMC Stroke Institute.\nSigns of a Mini-Stroke\nThe symptoms of a TIA are virtually identical to those of a stroke; it\u2019s just the length of time that makes a difference.\nThe symptoms of a mini-stroke typically last just a few minutes, although they can linger for 24 hours. Because the signs of a mini-stroke and regular stroke are so similar, it\u2019s important to get medical help as soon as possible if you or a loved one experience any of the following:\n\nInability to move or numbness on one side of the body\nDifficulty talking or understanding speech\nTrouble balancing, dizziness\nDifficulty seeing in one or both eyes; blurred vision\nConfusion\nAltered sense of taste or smell\n\nIf someone experiences signs of a mini-stroke, you should call 911 immediately. Even if the symptoms are gone by the time the person gets to the hospital, a stroke can follow at any time, so it\u2019s important to get checked out. The doctor may order follow-up tests, including blood work, ultrasounds of the heart, chest x-rays, CT and MRI scans, and an ultrasound of the carotid arteries in the neck.\nRisk Factors for Mini-Stroke\nHow can you reduce your chance of having a mini-stroke? Some risk factors are out of your control. For instance, you\u2019re more likely to have a TIA if you have family history of stroke. Men, older people, and people of African, South Asian, and Caribbean ancestry are also more likely to have mini-strokes.\nControllable risk factors include:\n\nHypertension (high blood pressure)\nCardiovascular disease\nSmoking\nAlcohol use\nSedentary lifestyle\nDiabetes\nPoor diet\nHigh cholesterol\nObesity\n\nTo reduce your risk of having a mini-stroke, it\u2019s important to make healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating well, reducing your sodium intake, exercising regularly, and limiting smoking and alcohol consumption. To learn more about transient ischemic attack prevention and treatment, visit the UPMC Stroke Institute.