I have CADASIL, can I drive a car?
it all right to play sports?
Is CADASIL contagious?
Why haven't I noticed the small strokes I've had?
How good are alternative treatment methods?
Will I have the same CADASIL experience as my father/mother?
we have our children tested?
When and how should we talk to our children about
If I have CADASIL, can I drive a car?
The answer to this question depends on your symptoms. The deciding factor
is whether by driving you would endanger yourself and/or other people
on the road. Symptoms that can impair driving ability include vision
disorders, reduced coordination, paralysis, epileptic seizures, slow
reaction times, etc. You should discuss this question with your doctor.
You can also take a driving test with the proper authorities.
Is it all right to
Yes. The best sports for you are endurance sports (e.g., swimming, jogging,
hiking). Extreme sports should be avoided. There are no medical objections
to taking vacations (including airline flights).
Is CADASIL contagious?
No, you cannot become “infected” with CADASIL. The only
possible means of transmission is through genetic inheritance.
physician has said that I have already had several strokes—but
I haven’t noticed anything!
Your doctor’s statement is probably based on MRI
images. In CADASIL patients, these tests frequently show small “scars”
indicating minor circulation disorders (strokes) that have already occurred.
Small strokes, especially early in the disease, can occur without any
How good are
alternative treatment methods?
So far there have not been any reliable studies of alternative treatments
for CADASIL. It does not appear that any such treatments influence the
disease process itself. However, we do not actively discourage some
alternative treatments such as acupuncture, natural homeopathic preparations,
etc. for specific problems (e.g., stubborn headaches) as appropriate
in the individual case (for example, relaxation exercises for headaches).
However, you should inform your doctor before starting such treatments.
My father/mother who has CADASIL has become
severely ill—should I expect the same experience if I have CADASIL?
No, not necessarily. The severity of the disease fluctuates
greatly within a family.
Should we have our children tested?
It is generally not advisable for children who are minors to have genetic
testing for CADASIL, particularly if they are not showing symptoms of
the disease. There are a number of practical and psychological reasons
why this is discouraged, the details of which can be discussed with
your physician or a genetics
counselor. If your child is an adult, you may wish to talk with
him or her about your diagnosis and about the fact that CADASIL is inherited.
Your child can then discuss this with his or her own treating physician
and make a decision about whether or not to have a detailed neurological
evaluation including MRI and genetic testing.
Should we talk
to our children about the disease and the fact that it is hereditary?
If so, when is the correct time to do this?
Our view is that it is appropriate and important, at some point in time,
for your children to learn of your disease and the fact that it is hereditary.
This information may be particularly important with respect to your
adult children’s family planning. There is no “best time”
to talk with your children about CADASIL, and the decision will depend
on many factors such as their age, maturity, and typical psychological
reactions to stressful news. Parents often have a better sense of this
than do physicians. As a rule of thumb, we feel that the discussion
should preferably occur before the start of family planning.