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What is cerebral arteriosclerosis?

Cerebral arteriosclerosis is the result of the thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries in the brain. The symptoms of cerebral arteriosclerosis include headache, facial pain, and impaired vision.

Cerebral arteriosclerosis can cause serious health problems. If the walls of an artery are too thick or a blood clot is caught in the narrow passage, the blood flow to the brain can be blocked and cause an ischemic stroke. When the thickening and hardening is uneven, the arterial walls can develop bulges (called aneurysms). If a bulge ruptures, bleeding in the brain can cause a hemorrhagic stroke. Both types of stroke can be fatal.

Cerebral arteriosclerosis is also related to a condition known as vascular dementia, in which small, symptom-free strokes cause cumulative damage and death to the neurons in the brain. Personality changes in the elderly, such as apathy, weeping, transient befuddlement, and irritability, might indicate that cerebral arteriosclerosis is present in the brain. Computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain can reveal the presence of cerebral arteriosclerosis before the development of an ischemic stroke, a hemorrhagic stroke, or vascular dementia.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes.

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