The #1 Cause of a “Silent Stroke” — Eat This Not That

By Ghuman


A silent stroke is a type of stroke that occurs without any obvious symptoms. It is often referred to as a “silent killer” because it can cause serious damage to the brain without any warning signs. The #1 cause of a silent stroke is an unhealthy diet. Eating the wrong foods can increase your risk of stroke, and it is important to be aware of what you are eating in order to reduce your risk. In this article, we will discuss the foods that you should avoid in order to reduce your risk of a silent stroke, as well as the foods that you should be eating in order to stay healthy.

The #1 Cause of a “Silent Stroke” — Eat This Not That

A silent stroke, also known as a “silent brain infarction”, is a type of stroke that occurs without any obvious symptoms. It is caused by a blockage in the blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen and nutrients. The most common cause of a silent stroke is a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can lead to a narrowing of the vessels and a decrease in blood flow. This can cause a stroke without any warning signs.

The best way to prevent a silent stroke is to make healthy lifestyle choices. Eating a balanced diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol can help reduce the risk of a silent stroke. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can also help reduce the risk. Additionally, avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption can help reduce the risk of a silent stroke.

In addition to eating a healthy diet, it is important to get regular exercise. Exercise can help reduce the risk of a silent stroke by improving blood flow and reducing the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries. Regular exercise can also help reduce stress, which can be a contributing factor to a silent stroke.

Finally, it is important to get regular checkups with your doctor. Your doctor can check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and can also check for any signs of a silent stroke. If you are at risk for a silent stroke, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or medications to help reduce your risk.

Silent strokes may be more common than people know. “A statement issued by the American Stroke Association and American Heart Association estimated that as many as a quarter of octogenarians may have experienced one or more strokes without symptoms,” say Toni Golen, MD, and Hope Ricciotti, MD. “These events are often detected only when a person undergoes brain imaging for another reason. How is this possible? A silent stroke is most often caused by reduced blood flow in one of the smaller arteries that feed the brain. It can occur without noticeable symptoms if it affects a part of the brain that doesn’t control major movements or vital functions.” Here is what causes silent strokes—including the main reason. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

doctor taking patient's blood pressure with analog device
Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

High blood pressure (hypertension) is strongly associated with a risk of silent strokes. “HBP adds to your heart’s workload and damages your arteries and organs over time,” says the American Stroke Association. “Compared to people whose blood pressure is normal, people with HBP are more likely to have a stroke. About 87% of strokes are caused by narrowed or clogged blood vessels in the brain that cut off the blood flow to brain cells. This is an ischemic stroke. High blood pressure causes damage to the inner lining of the blood vessels. This will narrow an artery.”

Obese woman laying on sofa with smartphone eating chips

Eating a diet high in ultra processed junk food and sugar can increase the risk of silent stroke. “The common causes of stroke are still undertreated — and awareness of stroke risk factors is low,” says Brett Cucchiara, MD, Professor of Neurology at Penn Medicine. “There are simple steps that people can take to drastically reduce their risk of having a stroke. A lot of people are surprised to know that how you eat can affect your risk for a stroke. There’s good data showing that a Mediterranean-style diet can help reduce your risk.”

overweight woman at home lying on the floor, laptop in front of her, prepared to work out on mat according to video

Obesity is strongly linked to stroke risk, doctors warn. “Basically, being obese seems to be a ‘solo player’ associated with heart injury—that is, regardless of high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and diabetes,” says Johns Hopkins cardiologist Chiadi Ndumele, MD, MHS. “Down the road, this can lead to heart failure. Lots of factors can cause heart failure, and the obesity epidemic is likely a contributor.”

Blood Cholesterol Report Test Healthcare

High cholesterol can lead to silent stroke, experts say. “High cholesterol levels build up fatty plaques that reduce blood flow in the arteries—a condition called atherosclerosis, which can lead to a stroke,” says Harvard Health. “If diet and exercise don’t bring your cholesterol levels down far enough, your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs that can significantly cut your stroke risk.”

man hold his had and suffering from headache, pain, migraine

The #1 cause of silent stroke is when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, something that can happen several times. “A blood vessel can get blocked off, the tissue supplied by that vessel can die, but the person doesn’t experience symptoms so they don’t know they’ve had a stroke,” says Karen Furie MD, MPH, associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Stroke Service. “The more brain damage or injury that you have due to these silent strokes, the more difficult it is for the brain to function normally.”

Heather Newgen

Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather