Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with sub-cortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is an inherited form of cerebrovascular disease that occurs when the thickening of blood vessel walls blocks the flow of blood to the brain. A mutation in the Notch3 gene alters the muscular walls in these small arteries.
CADASIL is characterized by migraine headaches and multiple strokes progressing to dementia. Other symptoms of CADASIL include white matter lesions throughout the brain, cognitive deterioration, seizures, vision problems, and psychiatric problems such as severe depression and changes in behaviour and personality.
The condition also puts you at greater risk of heart attack. The onset of symptoms of varies and signs appearing in the mid-30s. Some individuals may not show signs of the disease until later in life.
As of now, there is no certain way to treat this genetic disorder. Supportive care can help ease the symptoms such as migraine headaches. Over-the-counter drugs may also be used for headaches and aspirin dosage may be given to reduce stroke and heart attack risk.
The prognosis of CADASIL is not great because the condition goes undiagnosed until the middle-age. The symptoms usually progress slowly and the majority of individuals with CADASIL have severe cognitive problems and dementia. Individuals may lose the ability to walk and most become completely dependent due to multiple strokes.
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