Transient Ischemic Attack

ExitCare ImageA transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a "warning stroke" that causes stroke-like symptoms. A TIA does not cause lasting damage to the brain. It is important to know when to get help and what to do to prevent stroke or death.


  • Take all medicines exactly as told by your doctor. Understand all your medicine instructions.

  • You may need to take aspirin or warfarin medicine. Take warfarin exactly as told.

  • Taking too much or too little warfarin is dangerous. Blood tests must be done as often as told by your doctor. These blood tests help your doctor make sure the amount of warfarin you are taking is right. A PT blood test measures how long it takes for blood to clot. Your PT is used to calculate another value called an INR. Your PT and INR help your doctor adjust your warfarin dosage.

  • Food can cause problems with warfarin and affect the results of your blood tests. This is true for foods high in vitamin K. Spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, collard and turnip greens, brussels sprouts, peas, cauliflower, seaweed, and parsley are high in vitamin K as well as beef and pork liver, green tea, and soybean oil. Eat the same amount of food high in vitamin K. Avoid major changes in your diet. Tell your doctor before changing your diet. Talk to a food specialist (dietitian) if you have questions.

  • Many medicines can cause problems with warfarin and affect your PT and INR. Tell your doctor about all medicines you take. This includes vitamins and dietary pills (supplements). Be careful with aspirin and medicines that relieve redness, soreness, and puffiness (inflammation). Do not take or stop medicines unless your doctor tells you to.

  • Warfarin can cause a lot of bruising or bleeding. Hold pressure over cuts for longer than normal. Talk to your doctor about other side effects of warfarin.

  • Avoid sports or activities that may cause injury or bleeding.

  • Be careful when you shave, floss your teeth, or use sharp objects.

  • Avoid alcoholic drinks or drink very little alcohol while taking warfarin. Tell your doctor if you change how much alcohol you drink.

  • Tell your dentist and other doctors that you take warfarin before procedures.

  • Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

  • Follow your diet program as told, if you are given one.

  • Keep a healthy weight.

  • Stay active. Try to get at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days.

  • Do not smoke.

  • Limit how much alcohol you drink even if you are not taking warfarin. Moderate alcohol use is:

  • No more than 2 drinks each day for men.

  • No more than 1 drink each day for women who are not pregnant.

  • Stop abusing drugs.

  • Keep your home safe so you do not fall. Try:

  • Putting grab bars in the bedroom and bathroom.

  • Raising toilet seats.

  • Putting a seat in the shower.

  • Keep all doctor visits a told.


  • Your personality changes.

  • You have trouble swallowing.

  • You are seeing two of everything.

  • You are dizzy.

  • You have a fever.

  • Your skin starts to break down.


The symptoms below may be a sign of an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms go away. Call for help (911 in U.S.). Do not drive yourself to the hospital.

  • You have sudden weakness or numbness on the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body).

  • You have sudden trouble walking or moving your arms or legs.

  • You have sudden confusion.

  • You have trouble talking or understanding.

  • You have sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

  • You lose your balance or your movements are not smooth.

  • You have a sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

  • You have new chest pain or you feel your heart beating in a unsteady way.

  • You are partly or totally unaware of what is going on around you.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.