Subclinical or "silent" strokes are around five times more common than obvious strokes, an expert body has warned.
The theme of this year's World Stroke Day on October 9th is "Little Strokes, Big Trouble" - with subclinical strokes said to be a risk factor for dementia.
Research has suggested that silent strokes may affect one in ten apparently healthy middle-aged people.
"Subclinical or silent strokes occur five times as often as clinically-obvious strokes, and can affect thinking, mood, and personality," said Professor Vladimir Hachinski of the University of Western Ontario.
Professor Hachinski, who is a member of the Scientific Programme Committee of the World Stroke Congress, added that the focus on silent strokes emphasises that an earlier intervention increases the likelihood of success.
Meanwhile, one expert has stressed the importance of administering treatment as quickly as possible to individuals who have experienced a stroke.
Patrick Lyden, professor of neurosciences and director of the UC San Diego Stroke Centre, said that "the potential for reversing the disabling side effects of stroke declines with every passing minute".
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