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Monday, March 10, 2014
Small Vessel Ischemic Disease and Alzheimer`s
I have small vessel ischemic disease of the brain (I’m only 53). My concern is will this increase my chances of Alzheimer’s?
In general, small vessel ischemic disease in the brain is very common as we get older. How much this impacts a person depends on how much ischemic disease is present.
If we have hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, or if we smoke, there is greater risk to have this ischemic disease and to have large strokes. Keeping those factors minimized is best.
There is a mild increase risk of Alzheimer's disease in those who have a lot of small vessel ischemic disease but it is not thought that the ischemic disease is the cause of Alzheimer's disease. Rather other factors like diabetes or hyperlipidemia may play a larger role.
However none of this is proven. For most individuals with mild ischemic disease, there is no significant increased risk of getting Alzheimer's disease. A family history of Alzheimer's disease is far more of a risk factor.
Douglas W Scharre, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University