Headaches and Migraines
In a majority of patients, problems in memory and other thinking skills
occur. These symptoms are usually mild at first but may become worse
in the later stages of the disease. Some treatments are available which
may help with memory symptoms.
The most common symptom of CADASIL is a stroke.
Strokes are characterized by a number of neurological symptoms including
paralysis, loss of sensation, problems walking, slurred speech or other
speech problems, etc. These symptoms might improve rapidly (so-called
ischemic attacks (TIAs)) or lead to more persistent losses
(completed stroke). Strokes caused by CADASIL usually occur for the
first time between the ages of 30 and 50. However, as with all the other
symptoms, there is a great range of variation and individual patients
may remain free of symptoms for many years.
Approximately one-third of patients with CADASIL suffer from migraine-like
headaches. The headache attacks often begin between the ages
of 20 and 30, but again there is a lot of variability from person to
person. Migraines in CADASIL are usually accompanied by an “aura”.
Auras are transient neurological symptoms that occur before or during
the headache, such as changes in vision, numbness in the hands or feet,
and speech problems. A variety of treatments are available for headaches.
CADASIL patients also frequently suffer from psychological symptoms
such as anxiety
It is not uncommon for a patient to respond psychologically to a stroke
by becoming depressed, but in many cases this is reversible and treatable.
In individual cases psychiatric symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions,
anxieties, changes in perception or mood (manic or depressive) may be
the first symptoms of this disease. In these patients a specialist should
be consulted for therapy.
In a small percentage of patients, epileptic seizures
occur but can be treated well with medication. In individual cases,
episodes of confusion or disturbances in consciousness have been observed
and last for a few hours to days and may be associated with fever or