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Stroke

Symptoms of Small Vessel Ischemic Change

10/17/2011

Question:

I am 86 years old. I was diagnosed by a CAT scan with small vessel ischemia about 7 years ago. My symptoms were and are poor balance function, particularly at night. These symptoms continue to worsen though slowly. I do not have diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol. I`ve always been a very active person and still manage to do quite a lot. In my internet research on small vessel ischemic disease I have yet to see mention of the symptoms or of the prognosis. Can you please enlighten me?

Answer:

The main symptoms that are seen with small vessel ischemia are balance and gait disturbance and mild cognitive impairment. It depends on how much of the brain is involved as to how severe the deficits or balance problems a person will have. Keeping your brain active as you are can help with brain function and preservation. If there is no further strokes or small vessel ischemia than the condition is static and will not progress much. The fact that you do not have diabetes, hypertension and increased cholesterol makes your prognosis better as there is less risk for small strokes.

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Response by:

Douglas W Scharre, MD Douglas W Scharre, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University