What is a silent stroke?

17 Signs of a Silent Stroke
Although there are no obvious symptoms in a silent stoke, this does not imply it is less hazardous or causes less damage.

A silent stroke, also called asymptomatic cerebral infarction, can be caused by:

It causes a momentary halt in blood flow to the brain, which can harm brain cells.

Silent stroke affects a section of the brain that regulates processes, such as walking, seeing, or speaking, which are also regulated by other parts of the brain. This duplicate brainpower allows you to continue operating almost or completely normal, making the stroke more difficult to notice.

Major strokes affect mobility and language, resulting in visible alterations, whereas silent strokes frequently affect brain cells that are related to memory.

17 signs of a silent stroke

The signs of a silent stroke are subtle and hard to recognize. They frequently only endure for a short time, usually less than 24 hours. Often people do not realize they have had strokes. For this reason, they are not always easy to diagnose.

Here are the seventeen symptoms of a silent stroke:

  1. Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
  2. Tremors
  3. Blurry vision
  4. Headaches
  5. Dizziness
  6. Weakness in the limbs
  7. Balance problems
  8. Fatigue
  9. Temporary slurred speech
  10. Balance or gait problem
  11. Psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety or depression
  12. Inappropriate emotions
  13. Getting lost in familiar places
  14. Difficulty making decisions
  15. Changes in bladder or bowel control
  16. Mood changes
  17. Frequent falls

Silent strokes may raise the chances of cognitive loss, dementia, and future strokes. If you experience these symptoms, especially if you have risk factors, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you should consult your doctor and consider additional testing.

An MRI or a brain CT scan could be used to determine where the damage has occurred. Notify your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your memory or difficulty doing your everyday tasks.

What are the possible risk factors for a silent stroke?

Silent strokes occur more frequently than symptomatic strokes. They occur almost 14 times more frequently than strokes with obvious symptoms.

Age and other risk factors are strongly linked to silent brain infarcts. Many prior studies have reported that silent infarcts are more likely to occur in people who suffer from different underlying health conditions. Silent infarcts occur in up to 30 percent of individuals with acute ischemic stroke.

QUESTION

What is a stroke? See Answer

Is there a way to confirm a previous silent stroke?

Brain CT and MRI scans are commonly used to identify silent cerebrovascular disease. MRI is a more sophisticated technique than CT scans because it offers greater sensitivity and specificity. It may distinguish and demonstrate lacunar infarcts, tiny cortical, and subcortical infarcts, brain atrophy, perivascular gaps, and other anatomical abnormalities.

  • Silent brain infarction is a poorly understood and understudied condition because there is no obvious clinical damage.
  • The propagation of silent brain infarcts is linked to cognitive deterioration.
  • However, it is still unclear if preventing silent brain infarcts may halt cognitive deterioration.

Hence, it is still uncertain if an MRI of the brain is required in all individuals to screen for silent stroke. Screening for silent brain infarcts is difficult due to a lack of evidence on effective therapy.

What are the possible complications of silent stroke?

Strokes that go unnoticed are far more prevalent than strokes that generate symptoms. 

  • According to the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association, as many as 11 million Americans may experience a silent stroke each year, whereas 800,000 have typical strokes with symptoms.
  • According to the AHA, one in every four adults older than 80 years has had one or more of these strokes.

Although there are no obvious symptoms in silent stoke and it affects only a small region of your brain, this does not imply it is less hazardous or causes less damage. The brain damage caused by such asymptomatic strokes is cumulative.

In addition, if a person has had numerous occurrences of silent stroke, they may notice the beginnings of several neurological symptoms, such as difficulties focusing and memory loss.

According to the American Stroke Association, having a silent or asymptomatic stroke increases your chance of having symptomatic brain strokes later in life. Recent studies suggest that if you have had numerous occurrences of silent strokes, you are more likely to develop vascular dementia (multi-infarct dementia) and paralysis.

How are people with silent stroke managed?

If your doctor identifies and diagnoses you with a silent stroke, you should receive therapy to avoid further or more serious strokes. This is called stroke preventive therapy, and it can lower your risk of stroke by 80 percent or more.

Stroke prevention therapy

Rehabilitation

  • While the damage caused by strokes cannot be completely reversed, rehabilitation treatment can help people improve their memory and speech.

Lifestyle changes

Certain lifestyle modifications can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 80 percent. Uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are the leading risk factors for silent stroke. There are strategies to lower the chance of a silent stroke, enhance your general health, and safeguard your memory.

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a low-sodium diet
  • Frequent check-ups
  • Take medicines as advised to keep your underlying health conditions under control
  • Reduce your cholesterol by eating meals abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fibers, and proteins
  • Thirty minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise five times a week can reduce your risk of silent stroke by 40 percent
  • Maintaining a healthy weight can help decrease cholesterol and improve overall heart health
  • Follow a healthy and balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Stop smoking and avoid alcohol
  • Understand your stressors and work toward them by practicing yoga and meditation

Individuals with silent brain infarcts should be assessed and treated as urgently as people with clinical strokes because their risk of future stroke is great. Silent strokes can be prevented if the risk factors are under control.

SLIDESHOW

What Happens After a Stroke? Signs, Symptoms, Types See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 9/19/2022
References
Image Source: iStock images

Silent Stroke: What You Need to Know. https://www.webmd.com/stroke/guide/silent-stroke-you-need-to-know#

What is a silent stroke? https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/what-is-a-silent-stroke

Silent Stroke. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/strokeaha.112.666461