Uncovering Facts on Silent Stroke

When a massive stroke strikes, it’s undeniable. A sudden disruption of blood to the brain, there is no mistaking something went wrong.

“Symptoms would be something like paralysis, inability to use an arm or a leg, trouble speaking, trouble seeing out of part of their visual field that sort of thing,” says Lee Memorial Health System cardiologist Dr. Richard Chazal. “Some of those can be quite devastating with permanent disability.”

But there is another form of stroke that comes with no warning. Called a ‘silent stroke’, it can leave lasting damage. With no easy to recognize symptoms, people don’t know they’ve had one. In most cases a silent stroke goes under-the-radar unless it’s picked up during a brain scan.

“We can identify on a CAT scan or MRI, a small area of the brain that actually has some damage. The person can’t recall an event where he or she was paralyzed or couldn’t speak had a sudden difficulty, but we can identify that that person did have some damage to the brain.

Risk factors include high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat or A-fib.

A stroke is when there is a sudden occlusion or clotting-up of an artery in the brain,” explains neurologist Dr. Nima Mowzoon. He is on medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

“When that happens, the part of the brain that receives blood supply from the artery gets damaged. Just like it happens in the heart. Blood vessels in the brain can have atherosclerosis which starts off as. Cholesterol plaque will then lead itself to making blood clots and that blood clot can suddenly form,” Dr. Mowzoon says.

Silent strokes are more common than you think. It’s estimated 10% of middle-aged people have had one.

“A significant percentage of people with atrial cholesterol plaque fibrillation, if studied very carefully have had a very small silent stroke,” Dr. Chazal says.

Which can quietly leave behind lasting memory problems and issues with thinking. And also lead to a more severe stroke. Making it important to talk with your doctor about your silent stroke risk.

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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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