& MANAGEMENT OF CADASIL
Treating the Symptoms of CADASIL
Taking Care of Your Health
So far there is no cure for CADASIL, and there are no medications that
reliably slow or prevent progression of the disease. Cures or treatments
might become available in the future as more is learned about the mechanisms
of CADASIL, but it is impossible to predict when this will happen.
Currently, a trial is underway to see if a medication already approved
to treat Alzheimer's Disease will improve cognitive symptoms in CADASIL.
Click here to find out more.
Treating the Symptoms
Although there is no cure for CADASIL itself, many
symptoms of the disease can be treated effectively. For example, migraine
attacks and epileptic seizures can be treated with conventional migraine
and anti-seizure drugs. Other forms of therapy, in addition to medication,
should also be considered. Physical therapy, counseling, speech therapy,
and occupational therapy often have a positive influence on symptoms
of the disease. Depression and memory loss can also be treated with
medications and therapy. These treatments should be prescribed by a
trained neurologist or psychiatrist.
We still do not know whether CADASIL patients benefit from treatment
with “blood thinning” medications that are often used to
help prevent stroke. Your neurologist may recommend that you take a
or a similar medication daily to try to prevent a stroke. Warfarin (coumadin)
and TPA (to dissolve blood clots) should be avoided because they increase
the risk of bleeding in the brain. Triptans to treat migraine should
also be avoided because they increase the risk of stroke.
Care of Your Health
Currently, there are limited medical interventions for controlling the
natural progression of CADASIL. However, patients with the disease should
make healthy lifestyle choices that reduce the risk of additional injury
to the blood vessels. Such risk factors include high blood pressure,
diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, lack of physical exercise,
and other controllable conditions. This means, for example, that smokers
should stop smoking. Blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol
levels should be monitored at regular intervals and treated if necessary.
Exercise is also important.
The contraceptive pill is also a risk factor. Therefore, if possible,
women should stop using the pill or, if necessary, switch to a preparation
having a lower estrogen content (estrogen content less than 50 µg).
In addition, subjects should ensure an adequate intake of fluids (2
to 3 liters of fluid per day, not counting coffee, tea or alcoholic
beverages). This is especially true in hot weather.