New Delhi, October 19—A Silent stroke is one where the patient is unaware that it has occurred in one’s brain as it shows no symptoms and can’t even remember when it happened.
We often think of strokes and know that they all have symptoms like slurred speech, numbness or loss of movement in the face or body. But silent strokes don’t show symptoms like these. In fact, silent strokes usually display no symptoms at all.
However, the cause of silent strokes is the same as any other stroke. Even in silent stroke the blood supply to a part of your brain is suddenly cut off, depriving your brain of oxygen and damaging brain cells.
You must be wondering why a silent stroke, which has the same cause of occurrence, is hard to recognise. That’s because a silent stroke disrupts blood supply to a part of your brain that doesn’t control any visible functions like speaking or moving, so you might never know a stroke occurred. Hence the only way most people find out about it when they have an MRI or CT scan for another condition and stroke doctors or specialists like Dr. P N Renjen, a Neurospecialist in Delhi, notice that small areas of the brain have been damaged.
Since a silent stroke doesn’t make us unconscious or any physical shock to our body that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t caused a significant damage.
Silent strokes generally only affect a small area of the brain, but the damage is cumulative. If you’ve had several silent strokes, you may begin noticing neurological symptoms. For example, you might begin to have trouble remembering things, or you might have trouble concentrating.
According to the American Stroke Association silent strokes also increase your risk for having a symptomatic stroke in the future.
In the past studies, researchers have claimed that silent strokes are fairly common. A study in 2003 showed that a third of people over the age of 70 have had at least one silent stroke.
What is more worrisome is that in a more recent study, researchers have confirmed that having multiple silent strokes puts you at risk for vascular dementia, also known as multi-infarct dementia.