Medical abbreviations are one of the ways through which medical professionals communicate with each other in a healthcare setting in order to save time especially when there are many patients to attend to. In this post, we will be looking at the medical abbreviations TIA, its full meaning and when it is used, and what it describes.
This post is for those who are new to the field of clinical medicine; medical students, nursing students, and other health science students who struggle to understand the meaning of certain medical terms and abbreviations found commonly in patient’s folders and hospital records.
So what is TIA in medical terms?
Below is the meaning full meaning and description of the medical abbreviation TIA.
Medical Abbreviations TIA: What Is TIA In Medical Terms?
The full meaning of the medical abbreviation TIA is Transient Ischaemic Attack.
The medical meaning of TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack) is a disorder in the brain that lasts for a short period of time and is caused by the cut-off of blood supply to the brain and spinal cord.
Usually, when the blood supply to the brain or nervous system is cut-off for a long time, it leads to the death of the tissue or cells involved. But in the case of transient ischaemic attack, the duration of loss of blood flow to such tissue is short-lived, hence will not result in cell death.
Medical Abbreviations TIA: Difference Between Stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attack
It is not uncommon for one to mistake a stroke for a transient ischaemic attack. But they are two different things although they are both considered to be sudden neurologic attacks, they also have similar causes.
Both stroke and TIA are caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain. But in stroke, the duration of the lack of blood flow to the given brain area is longer compared to what is found in a transient ischaemic attack.
The difference between stroke and transient ischaemic attack is that while stroke causes a permanent disability as a result of the death of brain tissue(s), a transient ischaemic attack is temporary.
Other examples of stroke include:
Causes of TIA
The cause of the transient ischaemic attack is related to the cause of one of the commonest types of stroke; Ischaemic stroke.
In ischaemic stroke, a blood clot, or fatty plaque blocks the vessels supplying the affected part of the brain for a long time leading to permanent damage to the tissue.
But in TIA, the clot or fatty plaque clogs the artery supplying the tissue in the brain impeding the supply of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to those tissues. But because this is transient and lasts for just a short while, the damage is temporary unlike in ischemic stroke.
Medical Abbreviation TIA: Features, Signs, and Symptoms
Most TIAs last for a few minutes and the majority of the signs and symptoms will disappear within the first hour of occurrence, although some of the symptoms will persist for up to 24 hours.
Early stages of stroke and TIAs share similar features. And a patient may present with:
- Weakness, loss of feeling, or loss of function of the face, arms, legs usually on one side of the body.
- Difficulty in comprehending speech
- Slurred speech or mumbling
- Loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Double Vision
- Loss of sensation in affected parts of the body
- Problem with walking and gait
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Vertigo and loss of coordination and balance
- Other Neurological symptoms and signs
Medical Abbreviations TIA: Risk Factors
The risk factors are certain conditions or situations that can predispose one to have a TIA
The risk factors could be Dynamic or Fixed (Those you can change and those you cannot change respectively).
The Fixed Risk Factors Include:
- A family history of TIA or stroke: People who have a history of stroke or related conditions have higher risks of developing a transient ischemic attack compared to others without any family history of such.
- Age more than 55 years: The risk of developing a stroke increases with age but is more in people who are above 45 years of age.
- Sex: Males have higher risks of developing TIA than women
- Previous Medical History of TIA: People who have had a TIA in the past have higher chances of having it again compared to those who have never had an episode at all.
- Sickle Cell Disease: People who are known to have Sickle cell disease have higher risks of developing TIA compared to people with normal hemoglobin.
Dynamic Risk Factors
- High blood pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Cigarette Smoking
- Cardiovascular disease
- Obesity (Having excess weight)
- Alcoholic Liver Disease
- Carotid Artery Disease
- Lack of Exercise
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Peripheral Artery Disease
- Use of illicit drugs
- High levels of Homocysteine
Prevention of TIA
- Quit smoking: People who smoke often have a higher risk of having ischemia, hence TIA. So cutting down on the habit of smoking could reduce the chances of developing a TIA.
- Reduce fat intake: Increased fat in the blood vessels results in the formation of plaques which are causative agents of TIA.
- Eat healthy by taking more fruits and vegetables
- Reducing sodium intake (salts)
- Exercise regularly to burn off excess fats
- Moderate intake of alcohol
- Maintain healthy weight
Medical prevention involves the early diagnosis and treatment of:
- Blood pressure control
- High cholesterol control
- Diabetes control
- Atrial fibrillation
Why We Use Medical Abbreviations
Now that you know the medical meaning of TIA, you may also wonder why health professionals use medical terms and abbreviations for communication.
Medical abbreviations are used by health professionals because it’s easy to use compared to writing the medical terminology in full.
Imagine having to write “Transient Ischemic Attack” as a diagnosis in an emergency situation when TIA could easily be scribbled down on a patient’s folder.
The use of medical abbreviations makes the act of noting patients’ records easier and saves time both for the index physician and the patients.
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