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Can I Have a Stroke Without Knowing It?

Can I Have a Stroke Without Knowing It?

When you think of strokes, symptoms like slurred speech and facial drooping often come to mine. While these are signs of a classic stroke, it is possible to have a stroke without noticeable symptoms to alert you to a problem.

At Advanced Heart and Vascular Associates, Nader Chadda, MD, FACC, FSCAI, specializes in stroke prevention. If you’re concerned about your stroke risk, scheduling a visit with Dr. Chadda is an excellent step toward protecting yourself. By assessing your risk factors, reviewing your medical history, and discussing symptoms, Dr. Chadda can help you take steps to lower your risk of having a stroke. 

Silent strokes

A silent stroke is one that doesn’t cause outward symptoms, leaving you unaware that you’ve had a stroke. In fact, silent strokes are more common than classic strokes, and they can occur at younger ages than classic strokes. 

Despite the absence of recognizable symptoms, silent strokes still cause damage to brain tissue. People tend to find out they’ve had a silent stroke incidentally through brain scans for other health issues. In silent strokes, the blood vessels in the brain that experience disrupted blood supply don’t control things like moving or speaking. This is why outward symptoms are absent.

Transient ischemic attack

Commonly called a mini-stroke, a transient ischemic attack is a brief disruption in blood supply to a part of the brain. It’s referred to as transient because the blood clot that causes it dissolves on its own within minutes. A TIA does not cause permanent brain damage, and even though it’s referred to as a “mini” stroke, it’s every bit as serious as a classic stroke. 

People who have a TIA are at risk of having a stroke in the future. In fact, a stroke can occur shortly after a TIA.

Subtle signs of stroke

A stroke can have subtle signs that you should be aware of. Signs to look out for include:

It's crucial to pay attention to these subtle changes, especially if they occur without a clear explanation.

Knowing your risk

The risk factors for silent strokes are identical to those for typical strokes. Major risk factors for stroke include:

The good news is that these risk factors are controllable, giving you a clear roadmap of steps you can take to cut your risk of a stroke. 

Impact on overall health

The consequences of silent strokes are far from silent in the long run. Each silent stroke may contribute to a gradual decline in cognitive function, leading to vascular dementia. They can also boost the chances of having a major stroke. 

Even if each individual stroke doesn’t cause immediate, noticeable symptoms, the incremental damage can impact coordination, mood, and your ability to perform daily tasks.

Prevention and proactive care

Preventing strokes involves managing risk factors. This means that keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight within a healthy range can have a major impact on lowering your stroke risk. 

Regular exercise, adopting a heart-healthy diet and avoiding smoking and excess alcohol are the cornerstones of leading a healthy lifestyle and cutting your risk for strokes and other health issues. 

Additionally, routine health checkups play a role in keeping you healthy. If you have risk factors, working with a health care provider to prevent heart disease and stroke is vital. 

Taking a proactive, preventive approach to your health can go a long way toward keeping your heart and brain healthy and strong, especially as you age. For all of your preventive vascular needs, rely on Dr. Chadda and Advanced Heart & Vascular Associates. Call or message one of our offices to schedule a visit. We’re located in Brooksville and Hudson, Florida.

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