Genetic Condition Could Lead to Strokes During Pregnancy

Disorder includes headaches, cognitive decline and dementia

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FRIDAY, Feb. 6, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Pregnancy increases the risk of mini-strokes in women with an inherited condition called arteriopathy with subortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), says a Finnish study.

The study found that CADASIL, which can cause headaches, recurrent ischemic attacks, cognitive decline and dementia, poses a special risk during pregnancy.

The researchers studied 19 pregnancies and post-birth periods, in which there were complications, of 12 women with the CADASIL gene mutation. The study found that transient neurological complications occurred in 17 (90 percent) of the pregnancies.

Of those, neurological deficits occurred during the post-birth period in 11 (65 percent) of the pregnancies. Symptoms included headache, vision problems, impaired speech, and numbness.

Preeclampsia-like symptoms occurred in six of the 19 problem pregnancies.

"Pregnancy increases the risk of transient ischemic symptoms and preeclampsia in CADASIL in all age groups, but especially in older (over 30) females," the study authors write.

The study was presented Feb. 6 at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting in San Diego.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about women and stroke.

SOURCE: American Heart Asssociation, news release, Feb. 6, 2004

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