Stroke is a chief cause of death- the third in the U.S with statistics citing about 140,000 fatalities annually. The condition occurs when there is a problem with the blood vessels like blockage (ischemic) or a leak (hemorrhagic).
Due to the resulting damage to the brain nerve cells where blood vessels are not functional, the area that the nerves serve fails to work as well. Several known risk factors and diseases can lead to the condition or make an individual more susceptible to it, and these include cardiovascular ailments, high blood pressure, and atrial fibrillation.
However, some rare diseases and circumstances exist that can result in the condition. A doctor may have a situation where a low-risk patient gets a blood clot with no apparent cause like Dr. Jose Biller of Loyola University did.
When a patient doesn’t have a known history of heart conditions, doesn’t smoke, and exercises correctly but still suffers from the illness, it is practical to consider some of the rarer causes. Given the thousands of miles of vessels that are responsible for transporting 20 to 25% of the body’s blood, the possible culprits are numerous, and these include next four perplexing main rare causes of stroke
4 Perplexing Main Rare Causes of Stroke
Moyamoya disease is one of main rare causes of stroke. It is a rare disease where the carotid arteries narrow over time. As the vessels get narrower, they can start leaking or block altogether. No reason is cited for narrowing blood vessels. The presumption is that a genetic abnormality or injury can lead to the disorder. Children have a higher risk of getting Moyamoya disease, which carries signs like developmental disabilities, speech challenges, and uncontrolled movements.
Severe brain damage is one consequence of the disease. What happens is, to make up for the blood flow loss due to the narrow vessels, another network forms but it is unable to meet the demand that the ordinal vessels did. Understanding a patient’s history of Moyamoya disease is essential to avoid serious medical issues. MRIs, CT scan, and SPECT are diagnostic exams that will help evaluate the damage to the vessels.
Another main rare causes of stroke is Cavernous Angioma. Also called CA, the disorders involve a bunch of the brain’s blood vessels with abnormal formations that enlarge and distort their structure. The vessels don’t have the elastic fibers usually found in larger vessels, and their wall thickness is thinner as well.
Because of the poor design of the vessels, leakages are fairly common, and they lead to hemorrhagic stroke. The abnormal cells are localized to one section of the body like the spinal cord, brain, and brain stem.
Loss of hearing or vision, headaches and seizures are some symptoms that accompany the disorder. CAs can start leaking, leading to stroke-like symptoms. Doctors use MRIs to detect cavernous Angioma. Note that standard angiograms will not show the vessel cluster. For this reason, patients cannot undergo any surgery using catheters. The severity of the condition depends on the level of leakage.
Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome
The antibodies can sometimes attack a healthy section of the body instead of tackling infections. It is a situation where the antibodies go after the phospholipids, which are fundamental parts of the blood clotting process. When the phospholipids are compromised, they make it easy for blood to clot in the vessels, thereby depriving the brain of proper circulation.
Abnormal blood clotting can result in problems like recurring headaches, nausea, and chest pain. Family history is one risk factor of APS. Someone with Lupus, blood infections, or on certain medication is at a bigger risk of getting APS as well.
Diagnosis of the disorder requires a blood test that checks for the beta-2 Glycoprotein I, anti-cardiolipin, or lupus anticoagulant antibodies. An MRI and CT scan will help analyze the affected part and the amount of damage caused.
Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction Syndrome
Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction Syndrome is the last of the main rare causes of stroke we are talking about today. RCVS refers to a collection of disorders that involves dilation and constriction problems in the blood vessels. The condition causes the blood arteries in the brain to spasm, resulting in reduced blood flow- vasospasm.
Experts are yet to identify what causes the vasospasm. One assumption is that the body changes after childbirth contribute to RCVS in women who are also at more risk of contracting the ailment than men.Due to the narrowing of the blood vessels, RCVS is characterized by severe headaches. The reduced circulation to certain parts of the body interferes with major functions.
Weakness on one body side, changes in vision, and seizures are others to watch out for when RCVS is suspected. A transient Ischemic attack is one of the major complications of RCVS. The condition is reversible; with prompt diagnosis and treatment, a patient can recover in three months.
A stroke attack can range from mild to severe, depending on the underlying causes. When it’s serious, it can lead to the immobility of some part or the whole body. The recovery can take a long time and involves intensive therapy to rehabilitate parts of the body that are affected. Some survivors have to learn how to move and speak all over again.
Dick Clark is one survivor who has shown what it takes to recover fully. Understanding, not just the recognized causes of the condition but the main rare causes of stroke as well, is essential for both medical practitioners and high-risk individuals.