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What are the causes of TIA or mini stroke?

Most peoples symptoms have gone when they come to see me, because it was a mini stroke or a transient event.  First it is about identifying was that event due to a TIA or a clot essentially and identifying that it was due to that.  Sometimes when you are referred, you are referred with a suspected TIA or suspected mini stroke, but the job of the stroke physician is to determine was it actually that.  50% of the patients that I see referred to the TIA clinic will not be a TIA. Once we have identified that is what it is, the next thing we would do is look at your vascular risk factors to see what are the ones we can treat.  These are understanding have you got high blood pressure, is your cholesterol raised, what is your diet like, do you exercise, do you drink too much alcohol, what are your risk factors? If it is a clot, the next thing is identifying where did it come from?  Is it the heart, the large vessels or small vessels?