Perhaps you’ve read that a stroke can cause a metal taste in the mouth, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that a TIA can leave a metal taste in your mouth, does it?
A TIA (transient ischemic attack) is a temporary stroke. Both a TIA and an ischemic stroke occur when a blood clot forms in a blood vessel in the brain.
The only difference between a TIA and a stroke is that the former dissolves, usually in just minutes, and the person’s symptoms disappear as quickly as they came on. In fact, a TIA usually lasts for only a few minutes.
When people experience one of these “mini-strokes,” as they’re sometimes referred to, they will have a sudden-onset of one or more of the following symptoms:
• Paralysis on one side of the body
• One-sided numbness, tingling, heaviness and/or clumsiness
• The one-sided symptoms can occur to the face (e.g., one side of mouth droops)
• Vision problems: double, blurred, dimmed or what seems like a shade being pulled over one eye
• Loss of bowel or bladder control
• Unconsciousness is possible
• Slurred speech
• Trouble forming words
• Trouble swallowing
• Difficulty understanding speech
• Cognitive impairment
If you’ve checked the TIA symptom lists from various reputable medical organizations such as Mayoclinic.com and Clevelandclinic.com, you will not find “metal taste.”
However, according to stroke.org.uk, a stroke can leave the patient with a metal taste in their mouth.
But remember, strokes often cause permanent brain damage because the blood clot didn’t dissolve quickly enough.
It’s this permanent brain damage that can leave the patient with permanent problems (of which there are so many), and one of them are taste-related issues.
The permanent problems that a stroke leaves a patient with are not necessarily on the symptom list for a TIA.
A transient ischemic attack does not leave any permanent impairments. However, it should be treated with as much urgency as a stroke—get to the ER.
A TIA is actually a forerunner of a stroke; one-third of stroke victims had a previous transient ischemic attack.
Taste Change Can Be a TIA Symptom
And here’s a fair speculation: If a person suffers the sudden-onset symptoms of a TIA—such as suddenly one side of their face goes heavy and limp—and at that same time there’s a mechanism causing a metallic taste in their mouth—it’s highly unlikely they are going to be aware of this phantom taste.
Imagine that suddenly you can’t form words and one side of your face is paralyzed.
Are you really going to be aware that you also have a metallic taste in your mouth—especially if these symptoms last only a few minutes?
The panic over a TIA will divert your attention away from what your mouth is tasting—metallic or not—and onto the more alarming symptoms at hand.
However, a TIA can last a full hour, even a few hours, and during this time, it’s much easier for a person to also notice that there’s an odd taste in the mouth.
Though “sudden-onset metallic taste” does not make the symptom lists for many major medical organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, University of Pittsburg Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic, there IS a very intriguing TIA symptom discription on the Mt. Sinai site, which can be interpreted as a metallic taste.
The site says, “The symptoms of TIA are the same as the symptoms of a stroke, and include:”
And one of the bullet points is as follows:
Changes in the senses (such as hearing, vision, taste, and touch).
So there you have it: At a minimum, a TIA can cause “changes” in “taste.” It’s logical to conclude that there’ve been patients who’ve described this taste as being like metal.