Lacunar Stroke Symptoms:
The symptoms of lacunar stroke are similar to those of other types of strokes. They include:
Memory loss (dementia) Difficulty concentrating (confusion) Loss of balance (vertigo) Weakness or numbness in one side of the body (limb weakness/paralysis) Unusual behavior such as talking gibberish or making strange movements (psychomotor incoordination).
Symptoms usually begin suddenly and worsen over time.
Causes of Lacunar Stroke:
There are several possible causes of lacunar stroke. These include:
1. Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS): A group of conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking that cause the arteries in the brain to narrow causing a buildup of plaque in the artery walls.
This narrowing of the arteries can lead to a clot forming in the space between them. If it breaks free from its place in the wall of the artery, it may travel through the bloodstream into another part of your body where it blocks blood flow to vital organs like your heart. This condition is called a thrombus.
2. Chronic Coronary Syndromes (CCS): Another type of heart disease that affects arteries throughout your body, but especially in your brain and heart muscle.
3. Arteriosclerosis: A progressive disease in which fatty substances (plaques) build up inside the walls of arteries, causing them to harden and narrow.
It’s not clear why some people develop arteriosclerosis while others don’t.
4. Hypertension: Also known as “high blood pressure,” this is a condition where the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries is too strong.
There is more than one cause of hypertension, but the most common cause in Western societies is stress.
5. Atherosclerosis: A disease in which the walls of arteries become clogged and narrowed due to a buildup of fatty materials like cholesterol.
It’s also known as “hardening of the arteries.”
6. Small Vessel Disease (SVD): A condition that creates damage to tiny blood vessels in the brain.
7. Metabolic Disorders: Abnormalities in the way your body metabolizes sugar (diabetes), fat (lipid metabolism disorders), and other nutrients that can lead to a buildup of substances like lactic acid in the body.
This condition may also increase your risk of stroke.
8. Intracranial Aneurysm: A weak or bulging spot on the wall of an artery in your brain that may suddenly rupture and start bleeding.
9. Dental Problems: Certain dental procedures have been linked to a higher risk of stroke.
These include procedures such as tooth extraction, tooth scaling, and dental surgery (especially surgery to remove teeth or root canals).
10. Low Blood Platelets: Having low platelets (or thrombocytopenia) means you have a lower than normal number of certain cells in your blood called platelets.
Most strokes are caused by blockages or ruptures of blood vessels in the brain, but they can also be caused by a ruptured blood vessel elsewhere in the body that causes bleeding into the brain.
The pattern of stroke symptoms depends on which area of the brain is affected. The symptoms may begin suddenly or there may be a short period of milder symptoms called “mini-strokes” or “pre-stroke syndrome.”
There are two main types of stroke–ischemic and hemorrhagic.
Stroke symptoms vary depending on which part of the brain is damaged.
Ischemic: Ischemic strokes occur when an artery carrying blood to the brain is blocked, or when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts (hemorrhagic).
Ischemic strokes cause victims to lose the ability to move certain parts of their body. The functioning parts of the brain can take over some, but not all of the lost abilities.
The parts of the body controlled by the damaged part of the brain cannot be regained, even if recovery is made. For example, if a person suffered a stroke that affects speech, they cannot make their body produce speech again. If they recover from the stroke, they will still be unable to speak.
However, the affected part of the brain is able to take over for itself, so functions it controls can be reassigned to other parts of the brain.
Sources & references used in this article:
Lacunar stroke by A Arboix, JL Martí-Vilalta – Expert review of neurotherapeutics, 2009 – Taylor & Francis
What causes lacunar stroke? by JM Wardlaw – 2005 – jnnp.bmj.com
Is breakdown of the blood-brain barrier responsible for lacunar stroke, leukoaraiosis, and dementia? by JM Wardlaw, PA Sandercock, MS Dennis, J Starr – Stroke, 2003 – europepmc.org
Lacunar stroke is associated with diffuse blood–brain barrier dysfunction by JM Wardlaw, F Doubal, P Armitage… – Annals of Neurology …, 2009 – Wiley Online Library
Effects of clopidogrel added to aspirin in patients with recent lacunar stroke by sPs3 Investigators – New England Journal of Medicine, 2012 – Mass Medical Soc