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What is a silent stroke?

Silent stroke may not exhibit
any symptoms, making it more
difficult to detect.
The brain is a complex organ
responsible for controlling
many different bodily functions. When working at optimal
capacity, the brain is a wonder to
behold. When illness or trauma
affects the brain, various parts of
the body may not work as they
One of the more devastating things that can affect the
brain is stroke. Stroke describes
a sudden stoppage of blood
from reaching the brain. Harvard Medical School states that
if a large number of brain cells
are starved of blood supply, they
can die. With their demise, a
person’s memory and ability to
speak and move can be compromised.
While many strokes come on
suddenly, certain factors may
indicate a person is at risk. Such
factors may include prior heart
attacks, genetics, high blood
pressure, smoking, or a prior
stroke. However, in a particular
type of stroke - a “silent stroke”
- symptoms are far more subtle
and difficult to spot.
Silent cerebral infarction,
often referred to as “SCI” or
“silent stroke,” is a brain injury
likely caused by a blood clot
interrupting blood flow to
the brain, offers the American Stroke Association. Silent
strokes increase risk for other

Silent stroke may not exhibit any symptoms, making it more difficult to detect.

strokes and can be a sign of progressive brain damage. A silent
stroke is typically only noticed as
a side component of an MRI of
the brain. Many times patients
do not recall having a stroke and
never felt any symptoms. Silent
strokes should not be mistaken
for mini-strokes. Mini-stroke is
a brief but discrete and memorable event, with symptoms

appearing for a few minutes or
a few hours.
According to a study on
silent stroke titled “Functional
and Cognitive Consequences of
Silent Stroke Discovered Using
Brain Magnetic Resonance
Imaging in an Elderly Population” and published in the
Journal of American Geriatrics
Society, silent strokes are quite

common and can have serious consequences. Researchers
have found that silent stroke is
associated with impairments in
tests of cognitive function rather
than movement-oriented performance tests like rising from a
chair. Almost 50 percent of studied silent strokes affected frontal
circuit components of the brain,
such as the frontal cortex, basal

ganglia and thalamus. Lesions in
these brain structures compromised executive functions and
were related to vascular dementia. Another study showed associations between silent stroke
and visual field deficits, weakness in walking on heels, history
of memory loss, migraines, and
lower scores in cognitive function tests.

The “silent” part of a silent
stroke also refers to the areas of
the brain that the stroke affects.
Experts at Harvard Medical
School explain that, during a
silent stroke, an interruption in
blood flow destroys areas of cells
in a part of the brain that is
“silent,” meaning that it doesn’t
control any vital functions.
Researchers say that, over time,
the damage from silent strokes
can accumulate, leading to more
and more problems with memory. Collectively, silent strokes
become silent no longer.
There are certain ways to
reduce the risk of any type of
These include:
managing high blood
pressure and high cholesterol levels
quitting smoking
reducing the risk of
diabetes and effectively
treat the condition if it
is present
losing weight to prevent
exercising and avoid a
sedentary lifestyle
taking a low-dose aspirin or a drug that prevents blood clots.
Silent strokes largely go
unrecognized but can lead to
significant brain injury. Getting the facts can help men and
women reduce their risk for
silent stroke.

3 simple ways to a healthier heart

Heart disease is a formidable
foe. According to the American
Heart Association, heart disease
is the leading cause of death
in the United States, accounting for approximately 800,000
deaths every year. The Government of Canada notes that heart
disease is the second leading
cause of death in that country,
annually accounting for tens
of thousands of deaths. (Note:
Canada’s population is slightly
more than one-tenth the population of the United States.)
While heart disease exacts a
devastating toll on the United
States and Canada, its reach
extends far beyond North
America, as the American College of Cardiology notes that
cardiovascular disease accounts
for 31 percent of all deaths
across the globe.
In spite of the prevalence of
heart disease, men and women
are not helpless against it. In
fact, there are many ways for

men and women to reduce their
risk for heart disease.
maintain a healthy weight
The American Heart Association reports that between 60
and 70 percent of Americans
are overweight or obese. Carrying around extra weight takes
a toll on the body, increasing a
person’s risk for heart disease
and stroke. Overweight or obese
men and women can work with
their physicians to develop a
plan for effective, long-term
weight loss, a plan that will likely include a combination of diet
and routine exercise.
understand and manage
blood pressure
The AHA notes that high
blood pressure, a common condition affecting roughly one
in three Americans, is often
referred to as “the silent killer”
because it does not necessarily produce symptoms. Blood
pressure measures the force
pushing outward on the walls

of blood vessels as they carry
blood oxygen to the body’s
organs, and the force created
as the heart rests between beats.
Over time, the arterial walls of
people with high blood pressure may become stressed and
develop weak spots or scarring
that makes them vulnerable to
the buildup of plaque. Plaque
buildup can increase the risk of
blood clots and stroke. Blood
pressure can rise as a person
ages, so managing blood pressure involves routinely checking
it and making certain changes,
such as eating healthier foods
and exercising more often, if it
is high.
control cholesterol
High levels of low-density
lipoprotein, often referred to as
“bad” cholesterol, can increase
a person’s risk for heart disease.
The AHA notes that excessive
amounts of cholesterol can be
deposited into the arteries as

Flu-fighting tips to keep
you and others healthy
Sniffles, sore throat, fever, and
aches and pains may accompany
a number of illnesses, but during the wintertime such symptoms are typically indicative of
Throughout much of North
America, flu season peaks
between December and February. But flu season can occur
anywhere from October to
March, advises the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu is contagious and
can sideline people for extended
periods of time. The CDC says
that each year one in five Americans gets the flu.
Taking steps to fend off the
flu can help men and women
and the people they routinely
come in contact with.
Food can be used to fend
of the flu. Common foods that
many people already have in
their pantries can be powerful
flu-fighters. Garlic, for example,
contains compounds that have
direct antiviral effects and may
help destroy the flu before it
affects the body. Raw garlic is
best. In addition to garlic, citrus
fruits, ginger, yogurt, and dark

leafy greens can boost immunity and fight the flu, according to Mother Nature’s Network.
The British Journal of Nutrition notes that dark chocolate
supports T-helper cells, which
increase the immune system’s
ability to defend against infection.
A study published in the
American Journal of Therapeutics showed that carnosine,
a compound found in chicken
soup, can help strengthen the
body’s immune system and
help fight off the flu in its early
Flu shot and
Annual flu shots administered in advance of flu season
can help protect people and
their families from getting the
flu. The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration says that, in
select situations, antiviral medications - which are usually
prescribed to treat the flu and
lessen symptoms - can reduce
the chance of illness in people
exposed to influenza.
Many over-the-counter medicines can alleviate symptoms of
the flu, but cannot fend it off.

stop germ
Germs can be spread easily
between persons through direct
contact and indirect contact
with surfaces sick individuals
have touched. Doctors recommend staying home for at least
24 hours after a flu-induced
fever has dissipated. Well individuals should avoid contact
with sick people.
Frequent hand-washing with
soap and water can stop germs
from spreading. When soap and
water is not available, alcoholbased hand sanitizers can help.
People also should avoid touching their eyes, noses and mouths
after being in public places or
around someone who is ill.
rest and restore
Those who feel symptoms
coming on should begin drinking more liquids to keep the
respiratory system hydrated
and make mucus less viscous.
Remember to get adequate
sleep, as a tired body cannot
effectively fight the flu virus.
People of all ages should take
steps to protect themselves from
the flu.

plaque. When that happens, it
leads to a condition known as
atherosclerosis, or a narrowing
of the inside of the artery walls.
That narrowing leads to an
increased risk for heart attack
and stroke. Men and women
should get their cholesterol lev-

els checked at least once every
four to six years beginning at
age 20. Men and women who
have been diagnosed with high
cholesterol should recognize
that cholesterol is only found in
animal products, so a diet that
is rich in fruits, vegetables and

whole grains and low in animal
products can provide a simple
way for men and women to
lower their cholesterol. A more
thorough and detailed plan to
lower cholesterol levels should
be discussed with a physician.

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