What is the treatment for Cadasil?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Aug 27, 2014

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Cadasil is an inherited form of cerebrovascular disease.
It affects the small vessels of the white matter of the brain.
The symptoms of cadasil appear due to the changes in the anteriolar wall.
There is not treatment available for this disorder.

Cadasil is an inherited form of cerebrovascular disease which occurs when the blood to brain is blocked due to the thickening of the blood vessels. It affects the small vessels of the white matter of the brain. The alternation in the muscular walls of these small arteries is caused by a mutation in the Notch3. So far there are around 150 different mutations have been identified which are known to cause this disorder. Cadasil is mainly characterised by migraine, headaches and multiple strokes progressing to dementia.


The symptoms of cadasil appear due to the changes in the anteriolar wall. The degenerated cells in the smooth muscle layer of the arteriolar are replaces by connective tissue making the arteries thick and rigid. These changes further leads to decreased blood flow and ischemia. The exchange of nutrients blood and tissue also gets disturbed.  Cadasil has impact on the small branches of the long arteries that penetrate deep into the white matter of the brain. This impact restrict the blood flow and causes oxygen deficiency.

The current term which is Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) was named in 1993. The disease was previously known as hereditary multi-infarct dementia.


This is a hereditary disease and its transmission is autosomal dominant. Autosomal dominant means that a person already affected by a disease has a 50 percent chance of passing on the abnormal gene on to his or her children.



Transient ischemic attacks are caused by the occlusion of a small artery leading to oxygen deficiency that can cause brain damage. The symptoms are similar to stroke, but can be relived within a few hours. One of the most common symptoms of minor stroke is mild paresis or numbness in the arm or leg on either side of the body. The condition usually improves within a few days.   Minor strokes may result in speech difficulties, temporary episodes of memory loss and other cognitive problems.

CADASIL is slowly progressive and around half of all individuals with the disease will suffer several TIAs or strokes. The average patient has two or three significant strokes during a lifetime, but the variation is considerable.


There is not treatment available for this disorder. Supportive care can be provided to the individuals. Different drugs are available in the market which can be used to treat migraines and aspirin can be helpful in reducing risk of stroke and heart attack. It is highly recommended that people with cidil disorder should not smoke at all as it may increase the risk of stroke. Others stroke risk factors such as hypertension, hyerlipidemia, diabetes, blood clotting disorders and obstructive sleep apnea should also be treated to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Image Courtesy: Getty

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