HEALTHY LIVING
12/04/2012 05:27 pm ET Updated Dec 05, 2012

Mini-Stroke: Actor Frankie Muniz's Transient Ischemic Attack, Explained

"Malcolm in the Middle" star Frankie Muniz, who is nearly 27, is recovering after being hospitalized for a "mini stroke," according to news reports.

A mini-stroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack, is when no blood flows to the brain for a moment of time, but it doesn't cause brain tissue death like with a regular stroke, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. Symptoms of a mini-stroke may last for up to a day, though they often just last for a couple hours.

The stoppage of blood flow to the brain may be caused by a blood clot, blood vessel injury, or blood vessel narrowing, the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia reported. Risk factors for the condition include having diabetes, high cholesterol, being older (age 55 or older), having atrial fibrillation, or a family history of stroke.

The Mayo Clinic reported that symptoms of a mini-stroke are like those of a regular stroke, but the damage isn't permanent. However, it could raise the risk of a future stroke.

Symptoms of a mini-stroke may include having vision changes, feeling numbness or paralysis, feeling confusion, feeling unbalanced, experiencing a bad headache and having trouble speaking, WebMD reported.

If you've had a mini-stroke, brain imaging -- like CT or MRI scans -- can help identify the cause of it. And knowing the cause can help you to take measures to prevent a future one, like going on blood clot medication, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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