A transient ischemic attack, or TIA, is often described as a mini-stroke. Unlike a stroke, however, the symptoms can disappear within a few minutes. TIAs and strokes are both caused by a disruption of the blood flow to the brain. In TIAs and most strokes, this disruption is caused by a blood clot blocking one of the blood vessels leading to the brain. The blockage produces symptoms such as sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, sudden dimming or loss of vision, and difficulty speaking or understanding speech. If the symptoms are caused by a TIA, they last less than 24 hours and do not cause brain damage. Stroke-associated symptoms, on the other hand, do not go away and may cause brain damage or death. TIAs can serve as an early warning sign of stroke and require immediate medical attention.