What Causes Mini-Strokes in Seniors?

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A mini-stroke is also known as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. The condition occurs when the blood flow in a small vessel within the brain becomes interrupted. Statistics indicate approximately 500,000 people experience TIAs annually. Approximately 10 percent of adults who experience TIAs have more serious strokes within three months. The symptoms of a TIA are similar to those of a stroke, but they typically last for hours or days and then disappear. Below are some of the common causes and risk factors associated with mini-strokes. 


This condition develops as the innermost region of a blood vessel becomes lined with fatty deposits, which leads to vessel thickening, a loss of flexibility, and eventual hardening. As the pathway narrows, blood cannot flow as effectively. If not treated, the deposits may completely block blood circulation. It’s important for seniors to have their cholesterol and triglyceride levels regularly checked so corrective action can be taken if necessary.

An in-home caregiver can provide transportation to medical appointments so your loved one gets the regular testing he or she needs. In-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Blood Clots

When blood clots form, they may partially or completely block blood flow in the vessels. If a clot becomes an embolism and reaches the brain, it has the potential to become lodged in a small vessel. Clots may form when an older adult has abnormal heart rhythms or congestive heart failure. Untreated systemic infections, leukemia, and sickle cell anemia are other conditions known to produce blood clots. Seniors with blood disorders or cardiovascular conditions require routine monitoring of their blood coagulation times. 

A professional caregiver can help your loved one address health challenges at home in safety and comfort. Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Tucson, AZ, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place.

Risk Factors

Seniors with immediate family members who experienced TIAs or full-blown strokes have an increased chance of experiencing a similar event. Adults over the age of 55 have a higher risk, and men are more likely to have TIAs. African Americans have a greater risk of experiencing mini-strokes compared to people of other ethnicities. Below are some of the factors that can be addressed to reduce the risk of a vascular event: 

  • Hypertension causes constriction of the blood vessels, which interferes with normal blood flow and may contribute to clot formation. Older adults must have their blood pressure monitored and treated if needed.
  • Cardiac abnormalities must be diagnosed and treated to prevent clot formation. 
  • Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, refers to a disorder that involves circulation problems in the arms and legs. The problem may involve atherosclerosis or a tendency to develop clots. Seniors diagnosed with PAD must have their clotting times monitored along with blood flow efficiency. 
  • Smoking causes blood vessel constriction and the possibility of blood clot formation. Kicking the habit greatly benefits the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. 
  • A sedentary lifestyle impedes blood circulation. Being physically inactive reduces cardiovascular function and increases the likelihood of clot formation. Older adults should change positions every two hours during the day and adopt ways to become more active. 
  • Diabetes is known to cause arterial narrowing secondary to the accumulation of fatty deposits. Diabetic older adults need to carefully monitor their blood sugar, take prescribed medications, and adhere to prescribed dietary regimens.

Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Tucson senior care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call us at (520) 276-6555 to create a customized in-home care plan.


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