Silent strokes occur when a clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain, but the person experiences no symptoms. Despite this lack of symptoms, silent strokes can cause damage to a small part of the brain.
Due to a lack of noticeable symptoms, silent can be difficult to identify. However, people may have slight mobility or memory issues.
Doctors usually find silent strokes when a person has a brain scan for another condition. For example, the doctor may notice a past silent stroke if a person has a scan for continual headaches or dizziness.
Read on to learn what silent strokes are, how to recognize them, causes, treatment options, and more.
A silent stroke is a stroke without any noticeable symptoms.
In turn, this can lead to symptoms such as weakness or paralysis.
However, if the stroke only damages a small part of the brain that does not control essential functions, a person may experience no symptoms. This is why healthcare professionals describe a stroke of this kind as “silent.”
Silent strokes do not present with any obvious symptoms or signs. However, a person might have slight memory or mobility issues that they have not considered could be connected to a stroke.
Instead, silent strokes tend to reveal themselves on brain scans for other conditions, such as headaches, cognitive issues, or dizziness.
- white spots
- scarred tissue
- tiny areas of bleeding vessels
Signs of a silent stroke may be very subtle. They are mistaken for regular signs of aging, such as:
- difficulty balancing
- difficulty with bladder control
- mood changes
- reduced ability to think
A silent stroke is similar to an ischemic stroke as it
Although a transient ischemic attack also
Atrial fibrillation, which
These two conditions also share the same risk factors, including high blood pressure and elevated blood levels of homocysteine.
As silent strokes often go undetected, a person may never know they need treatment.
Alternatively, they may only discover they require treatment following screening for another health condition. If a person has a brain scan and their doctor detects one or multiple silent strokes, they
For instance, blood thinning medications can help to lower blood pressure, and cholesterol medications can help to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This can reduce their risk of future strokes.
A silent stroke is a
A person with multiple silent strokes may be at
According to a
- following a healthy, balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
- maintaining a moderate weight
- doing 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity cardio, such as brisk walking, each week
- avoiding smoking
- limiting alcohol
- working with a doctor to manage conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease
- eating a Mediterranean diet — an eating pattern that includes nutritious whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood, beans, and nuts
- reducing sodium intake
A person should consult a doctor if they experience any difficulty with balance, headaches, dizziness, or clumsiness in a limb that lasts a few days before resolving.
As people are more likely to experience strokes as they get older, they may find it difficult to notice or remember any mild symptoms. A person with a friend or family member at risk for silent stroke should look for any mild stroke symptoms in their loved one.
Silent strokes have no noticeable symptoms, but they may still injure a person’s brain. A silent stroke is also a risk factor for a future stroke.
A doctor may detect a person has had a silent stroke while screening for another condition and may prescribe blood thinners or cholesterol-lowering medication.
People may mistake stroke symptoms as signs of old age, so it is important for individuals to discuss any temporary increased clumsiness with a doctor, as this could be a sign of a silent stroke.