Stroke victims have long been aware of the dangers of experiencing a full-blown stroke, but they aren’t the only ones who can be harmed by stroke. When most people think of a stroke, they think of someone who has collapsed on the floor or had sudden paralysis on one side of their body.
People who haven’t yet experienced symptoms of stroke can still have brain damage caused by a condition called silent stroke, which has potentially life-altering consequences that might not be discovered until it’s too late.
Silent strokes can cause permanent brain damage without any outward symptoms and are often the result of undiagnosed hypertension or diabetes. If you’re worried about silent strokes, here are some things to keep in mind so you can get treated right away if necessary. This guide will give you more information about silent stroke and how to protect yourself from it.
What Is Silent Stroke?
Silent stroke is a type of stroke that doesn’t have any symptoms. Because there are no symptoms, many people don’t know they’ve had a silent stroke. But even though you can’t see or feel the effects of a silent stroke, it still causes damage to your brain. Silent strokes can cause more damage than regular strokes because they’re often not diagnosed and treated right away.
The best way to protect yourself from this kind of stroke is by having a brain check-up if you're over 55 or at high risk for brain disease.
Silent Stroke Symptoms
Though a silent stroke may not cause any noticeable symptoms, it still causes damage to the brain. This is why it's important to be aware of the signs of a silent stroke in the elderly, so you can get treatment as soon as possible.
The most common signs of silent strokes are:
- Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden problems with balance or walking
- Vision problems
- Unexplained weakness on one side of the body
Treatment for silent strokes will depend on the severity and where in the brain the stroke occurred.
If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Silent strokes are treatable with medication and physical therapy.
Causes Of Silent Stroke
Silent strokes are caused by a blood clot that interrupts blood flow to the brain. Although the clot is small, it can cause damage to the brain tissue. This damage can lead to problems with thinking, speaking, and moving. Treatment for silent stroke is important because it can help prevent more strokes from happening. Brain care is also important after a silent stroke because it can help you recover from the damage that has been done.
Steps That Can Be Taken To Manage Silent Stroke
While there is no specific silent stroke treatment, doctors may recommend some general lifestyle changes or medications to help manage the condition. These changes can include quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe blood thinners or cholesterol-lowering medications.
- Get blood pressure under control.
- Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet, such as the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet.
- Cut down on salt intake.
- Get diabetes treatment, if you have it. Follow your doctor's instructions about taking medicines to lower cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
- Eat your veggies! Vegetables like cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes are loaded with potassium. Potassium can help fight high blood pressure.
- Cut down on or quit smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Avoid foods that contain nitrates, like bacon and hot dogs, which can lead to strokes. Take steps to manage stress in your life.
- Consider joining a support group to talk about stroke-related issues with others who know what you're going through.
- Talk to your doctor about medicine that can help manage high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which are risk factors for stroke.
Best Foods To Eat For Brain Health
While there is no silent stroke treatment, eating brain-healthy foods can help reduce your risk of silent stroke and other forms of cognitive decline. Here are some of the best foods to eat for brain health.
Berries contain flavonoids that protect neurons from inflammation and cell death.
Apples contain antioxidants that combat free radicals in the body which could cause brain cells to die.
Spinach contains folate which lowers levels of homocysteine in the blood which could lead to an increased risk of silent stroke as well as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Blueberries have anthocyanins that may slow down cognitive decline by reducing levels of beta-amyloid protein buildup, a major factor in Alzheimer's disease progression.
Broccoli has sulforaphane that helps clear beta-amyloid proteins in lab mice. And red wine has resveratrol which boosts the production of new brain cells, strengthens connections between neurons, and prevents those connections from breaking down over time.
Silent Stroke Personality Changes
A stroke changes life for the survivor and everyone involved. The best treatment is prevention, but that's not always possible. It's important to know the warning signs of a stroke so you can get help as soon as possible: sudden numbness or weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, confusion, dizziness, or trouble seeing out of one eye are all warning signs of a stroke.
The Sooner You Get Help, The Better Your Chances Are For Survival
Once someone has had a stroke, the risk of another one goes up significantly. That’s why it’s important to talk with your doctor about lifestyle changes like diet and exercise which can reduce your chances of having another stroke. If you have had a silent stroke and haven't been diagnosed yet, it may be a good idea to see a doctor right away because they might be able to give you medicine or take other steps to prevent future strokes from happening.
A silent stroke is a type of stroke that doesn’t have any obvious symptoms. Even though you might not realize it, a silent stroke can cause damage to your brain. That’s why it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible. If you think you might have had a silent stroke, talk to your doctor right away.