How to Avoid a Silent Stroke
Just because they're silent doesn't mean they're not deadly! Although silent strokes don't show symptoms, they can cause serious harm and kill. The Cardiovascular Institute of the South states, "The damage caused to the brain can result in significant cognitive decline or even death. It may also lead to vascular dementia. The damage that happens is permanent, but through therapy and healthy habits, stroke survivors may be able to reduce the effects and prevent future strokes." According to the American Heart Association, "Silent strokes are much more common than strokes that cause classic symptoms such as face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty and affect nearly 800,000 Americans each year." Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Jacob Hascalovici MD, PhD as the Clearing Chief Medical Officer who shares what to know about silent strokes, who is at risk and how to help prevent one. As always, please consult your physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
What to Know About Silent Strokes
Dr. Hascalovici tells us, "People should know that the damage from silent strokes can be long-lasting, even permanent. Silent strokes happen more often than many people think, and can result in clumsiness, trouble coordinating your movements, or cognitive issues. Prevention is the best thing you can do to ward off a silent stroke. Regular exercise, a balanced, low-fat way of eating like the Mediterranean diet, and keeping stress low are all crucial."
Silent Stroke Risk Factors
Dr. Hascalovici says, "A silent stroke doesn't display noticeable symptoms, but it can still be quite dangerous. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and a smoking habit can all raise your risk of a silent stroke."
How to Tell If You've Had a Silent Stroke
"The dangerous thing about a silent stroke is often the lack of obvious clues that it has occurred at all," Dr. Hascalovici emphasizes. "Nonetheless, symptoms do sometimes show up, and can include having trouble with your balance, fainting, struggling with cognition and memory, losing muscle control, or trouble with your vision or speech. Many people believe these are just signs of aging, but that may not be the case. Abnormal clumsiness or trouble walking are also potential indicators of a silent stroke. If you notice any of these, schedule a medical appointment and discuss getting brain scans to discover any damage that may have happened."
Stroke with Symptoms Can Happen After a Silent Stroke
Dr. Hascalovici warns, "Sometimes a stroke is immediately followed by facial drooping, muscles that are much weaker on one side than the other, and problems with talking normally, like slurred or nonsensical speech. Get medical help right away if you notice these signs."
How to Help Prevent a Silent Stroke
Dr. Hascalovici explains, "Maintaining normal blood pressure can help prevent strokes, including by eating a healthy, low-inflammation diet and by keeping extra weight off. It's also important to exercise five or more times a week, get regular blood pressure checks, and avoid or cut back on smoking and alcohol."
Causes of a Silent Stroke
According to Dr. Hascalovici, "A silent stroke happens when a clot stops the flow of blood within a blood vessel in the brain. Brain regions that don't get regular blood flow can die off quickly, which can have serious and sometimes permanent health impacts."
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