A lacunar infarct is a type of silent stroke, which means it may not produce any outside symptoms. In many cases, patients are unaware when they suffer a lacunar stroke. Despite not causing any symptoms, this type of stroke still damages the brain and puts the patient at risk of major stroke attacks in future.
In a lacunar stroke, there is blockage of small arteries branching from the main artery in the brain. This can cause significant damage to the cells in small parts of the brain and lead to death of certain parts of the brain tissue. The most common cause of a lacunar infarct is high blood pressure.
The primary cause of a silent stroke is thrombosis, which is a blockage of an artery in the brain caused by a clot. Brain hemorrhage occurs when blood vessels in the brain rupture and bleed into surrounding brain tissues. Migraines cause blood vessels in the brain to constrict, which may lead to a stroke.
The most common effect of a silent stroke is called pure motor stroke. This symptom is exhibited by extreme weakness and complete paralysis of the face, arms and legs. The paralysis may affect all the three parts of the body, one of the parts or certain areas of the face, legs or arms.
Many people who have suffered a silent stroke lose the ability to control the tongue and other muscles in the mouth. This may lead to problems with speech and swallowing. Though the stroke may affect speech, comprehension remains intact.
Another common symptom of lacunar stroke is problems with coordination. Many patients develop an awkward walking style. This symptom is manifest in the limbs than arms. Patients may also have frequent bouts of dizziness and balance problems. The symptoms of a silent stroke may occur a few hours after the stroke or even days after the stroke.
Other common symptoms include lack of sensory perception or distance perception, which may continue even after the stroke and dysarthria or clumsy hand syndrome. Many people who have suffered a silent stroke are unable to use a pen or pencil effectively because of lack of coordination in their hand muscles and problems with eyesight.
People who have suffered a silent stroke may get a recurrence. The possibility of a recurrence increases with people who are diabetic or have high blood pressure. However, death as a result of a lacunar infarct is rare. Multiple lacunar stroke victims may have delicate emotions; suffer memory loss and impaired judgment.
Dealing with a stroke patient can be quite difficult. Like other patients, people who have suffered a stroke need support from their friends and families. Caregivers should look into counseling and support groups.
Family members should keep their emotions to themselves and remember that the stroke patient is not upset with them. Caregivers should be positive and supportive but at the same time, they should be firm with discouraging unhelpful behaviors such as poor diet and lack of exercise. The most important tip for caregivers is that they should practice positive reinforcement when taking care of stroke patients.