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Silent Stroke: What You Need to Know

What is a Stroke?

Right before knowing the aspects of a silent stroke, it is essential to know what a ‘stroke’ is and when does it occur. Stroke is a brain attack when a part of brain is starving of required blood supply and regular blood circulation is hindered. This results in a stroke. Usually stroke can be dramatic and horrible in expression. People having a stroke can very well be comprehended by their immediate expression. When there is insufficient blood supply to cells, vast number of brain cells die, people suffering from such a condition are stripped off the ability to speak or remember anything, and patient often suffers from paralysis. Now this is the picture of a usual stroke, which helps in determining the immediate abnormality in individual, but when there is a silent stroke, things appear very different from what is described above.

What is a Silent Stroke?

What is a Silent Stroke?

Silent stroke is not a new thing. Such type of stroke is harder to decipher, as this stroke is far subtler, that’s why it is known as silent stroke. Areas in brains are seen to be damaged at an instant whenever silent stroke occurs on an MRI scan; however, the areas where dead cells of brain accumulate are comparatively smaller than what is found in usual stroke. Silent stroke affects the less functional areas of the brain and people having a silent stroke can have a lasting and significant memory impact. Silent strokes are quite common than most people realize, however, symptoms of silent stroke are more subtle or absent when compared to a regular stroke. A person undergoing a silent stroke may not be aware of it and silent strokes are usually revealed when that person has had a brain scan.

Knowing About Silent Stroke & TIAs

Similar to regular stroke, silent strokes are the direct outcome of blood clots that hardly dissolve and any other type of hindrance in the blood supply to the brain. There is a warning stroke, identified as TIAs or transient ischemic attacks, where blood clots are present, but they normally dissolve within 5 minutes; but in case of a silent stroke, these clots hardly dissolve and may result in permanent damage of the brain. While having transient ischemic attacks, there are few symptoms, which never go away, and these are:

  • Drooping of one side of the face and feeling numb instantly.
  • Feeling weakness as well as numbness in one arm or leg.
  • Speech trouble, difficulty in understanding words.
  • Sudden confusion and perplexity.
  • Losing balance suddenly, lack of coordination.
  • Sudden headache, pain in parts of head and pain radiating to shoulder area.

What Happens in a Silent Stroke?

When a person is having a fading sensation or slurred speech or inability to perform voluntary movements, completely or even partially, then it can be safely assumed that that person is suffering from a stroke. Stroke affects brain, which is responsible for controlling the functioning of the different parts of the body, limbs, face and other organs, but when stroke does not affect any body part or hinder the functioning, but the lesions or areas of brain damage can be seen on an MRI scan, then such type of strokes are considered as Silent Stroke. Silent Stroke affects the ability to think or remember, mood, and clear communication. This is common in elderly people who had an MRI for some other reason on which the evidence of stroke had been discovered. MRI is the only way to know whether silent stroke has occurred or not as MRI displays the lesions and the lesions are the evidence that brain tissues have suffered damage. However, it is not that easy to repair damage right away. It is also significant and important to learn about the fact that you are running through the greater risk of stroke, which you might not have realized so far. It is better to talk to the doctor immediately right after finding lesions in brain area on MRI.

Measures to Prevent Silent Stroke

So what to do when stroke comes without showing any visible symptoms, even though the brain cell lesions would be visible on an MRI or CT scan. To avoid silent stroke, the risk factors should be avoided. Given below are such risk factors, which can cause a silent stroke and the need for it to be managed on time to prevent a silent stroke.

  • When body is suffering from high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol.
  • When a person smokes excessively.
  • Heavy tobacco intake.
  • When there is High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
  • When the patient has diabetes or has symptoms of diabetes.
  • When there is obesityoverweight problem and less physical movement.
  • While suffering from Atherosclerosis.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • When there is a heart condition known as atrial fibrillation.
  • When you are undergoing gradual memory loss and cannot remember anything, then you should not dismiss these as signs and symptoms of normal aging, rather you should be visiting the doctor and undergo testing immediately.
  • While visiting the doctor, make sure you have informed him about the family history if there is any case of memory loss or stroke.
  • Women are seen to be more stroke prone than men. Women, however, live longer, but they are more vulnerable to stroke. Elderly women should undergo regular evaluation for vascular risk factors and need to check the symptoms of cerebrovascular disease.
  • In order to curb down risks, you need to talk to the doctor and change your lifestyle, you need to have medicines handy to prevent stroke, for example learning about the drugs, which may prevent blood clotting, drugs such as Coumadin, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs or aspirin.

Incorporating Good Habits to Prevent Silent Stroke

  • Certainly good habits are required to prevent stroke, diseases. Varying health conditions may occur, but with healthy habits, risks for both stroke and heart disease can very well be lowered.
  • When you are having blood pressure, it is important to monitor and control it.
  • Same as monitoring and controlling cholesterol is also a good habit.
  • Keeping your blood sugar under control and pursuing a good and well balanced diet is also a good habit to follow to prevent a silent stroke.
  • Quitting smoking, alcohol and different other tobacco related habits is another good habit to incorporate to prevent silent stroke.
  • Leading stress free life is important as tension, stress, depression push you closer towards having a silent stroke.
  • Eating healthy is required, lots of fresh fruits, whole grain, lean protein, less carbs and leafy vegetables can help you lead problem free life and a life free of silent stroke.
  • It is important to cut back on salt, fat and sugar.
  • Regular exercise, cardio helps in maintaining blood flow, so it is a good habit for sure for prevention of a silent stroke.



Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 1, 2023

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