Discharge Instructions for Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

You have been diagnosed with a transient ischemic attack (TIA). You can think of a TIA as a temporary or mini-stroke. Blood temporarily could not reach part of your brain. Unlike a stroke, TIAs usually cause no lasting damage. If you think you are having symptoms of a TIA or stroke, get medical help right away—even if the symptoms go away. 


  • Take your medications exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses.

  • Learn to take your blood pressure. Keep a log for your doctor.

  • Change your diet if your doctor tells you to. Your doctor may suggest that you cut back on salt. If so, here are some tips:

    • Limit canned, dried, packaged, and fast foods.

    • Don’t add salt to your food at the table.

    • Season foods with herbs instead of salt when you cook.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Get help to lose any extra pounds.

  • Begin an exercise program. Ask your doctor how to get started. You can benefit from simple activities, such as walking or gardening.

  • Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks a day.

  • Know your cholesterol level. Follow your doctor’s advice about how to keep cholesterol under control.

  • If you are a smoker, you need to quit now. Enroll in a stop-smoking program to improve your chances of success. Ask your doctor about medications or other methods to help you quit.

  • Your health care provider will give you information on dietary changes that you may need to make, based on your situation. Your provider may recommend that you see a registered dietitian for help with diet changes. Changes may include:

    • Reducing fat and cholesterol intake

    • Reducing sodium (salt) intake, especially if you have high blood pressure

    • Increasing your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits

    • Eating lean proteins, such as fish, poultry, and legumes (beans and peas) and eating less red meat and processed meats

    • Using low-fat dairy products

    • Using vegetable and nut oils in limited amounts

    • Limiting sweets and processed foods such as chips, cookies, and baked goods

  • If you are overweight, your health care provider will work with you to lose weight and lower your body mass index (BMI) to a normal or near-normal level. Making diet changes and increasing physical activity can help.

  • Begin an exercise program. Ask your doctor how to get started and how much activity you should try to get on a daily or weekly basis. You can benefit from simple activities such as walking or gardening.

  • Learn stress-management techniques to help you deal with stress in your home and work life.

Follow-up care

  • Some medications require blood tests to check for progress or problems. Keep follow-up appointments for any blood tests ordered by your doctors.


When to seek medical care

Call 911 right away if you have any of the following:

  • Weakness, tingling, or loss of feeling on one side of your face or body

  • Sudden double vision, or trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Sudden trouble talking, or slurring your speech

  • Trouble understanding others

  • Sudden, severe headache

  • Dizziness, loss of balance, or a spinning feeling, a sense of falling

  • Blackouts or seizures


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