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'Micro' Stroke Symptoms

A "micro" stroke, more commonly referred to as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), is an event that occurs within the brain when the blood supply is momentarily reduced or stopped in some way 1. A narrowing of the arteries because of the buildup of plaque, also known as atherosclerosis, is the most common cause of this attack, but you may also suffer from this condition as a result of a blood clot. Regardless of what is initiating a "micro" stroke, symptoms usually manifest immediately and then dissipate within a matter of minutes.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


One of the more common symptoms of a transient ischemic attack is some level of dizziness, lightheadedness or even faintness 1. This is largely because of the sudden reduction of blood, which deprives the brain of oxygen, causing you experience an abrupt woozy sensation. As this sensation sets in, it often triggers a loss of coordination, balance or consciousness.

Tactile Disruption

Pontine Stroke Symptoms

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Another fairly common symptom of a "micro" stroke is best described as a tactile disruption. Often isolated to either the left or right arm, leg or side of face, depending on the area of the brain affected, this symptom is usually a fleeting sensation that is gone within an hour. For some, this numbness present itself as more of a weakness or even paralysis, impeding the ability to actually move the affected arm, leg or portion of face.

Cognitive Disturbance

It is also possible for a transient ischemic attack to elicit a disturbance of cognitive ability, resulting in a temporary confusion or uncertainty 1. This may make it difficult for you to formulate or verbalize common words or phrases as well as truly understand or discern what a person is saying to you.

Speech Problems

Early Signs of Impending Stroke

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A "micro" stroke can also prompt a symptom involving your capacity to speak. In this situation, you may be able to conceive or understand words, but not properly speak them, causing you to slur or garble your words.

Visual Disturbance

Sometimes a transient ischemic attack can prompt an array of visual disturbances 1. Blindness in one of the eyes is one of the more common, but you may also experience doubled or blurred vision as well as a partial or total blindness in both eyes. And much like the other symptoms of the condition, the visual changes are usually temporary.