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How to Diagnose CADASIL, Alzheimer’s, or Multiplex Scleros

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I am 48 and I have a variety of symptoms which sound very much like CADASIL and/or transient ischemic attacks; however, one of my doctors also suspects an aneurysm. My spine surgeon says the symptoms can only be caused by a problem in the brain. My neurologist ordered MRIs of the brain (with/without dye), MRAs (intra and extra-cranial), echo-cardiogram, etc., which were conducted 10 days ago. I have yet to hear the results of any of these tests, though.

One of my little sisters is a nurse and she says these symptoms can also be due to spinal injury. Haven't found anything on the internet to support that, though. I have had spine problems for 33 years, have had 10 vertebrae broken, have had 4 operations, now have parts from other skeletons, artificial pillow discs and a metal bracket holding me together.

Symptoms include: Recurrant loss of control of arm and/or leg (used to be strictly right side but haven't been able to use left arm now for 4 days). Painful tingling like the sensation of hitting "funny bone" throughout length of arm and hand (this is like a moderate occurrence of reflex sympathetic dystrophy - which I have had in my right leg for about 10 years). Loss of balance. Inability to walk without support (have walker and wheelchair). Clumsiness. Loss of vision in left eye - see everything in gray tones now with that eye. Migraines - several times a week, usually after loss of vision. Forgetfulness. Sometimes I can talk to a person and forget the person's name and the content of the conversation within 20 minutes. Mood changes - my wife claims that I'm moody, irritable, etc.; much more so now than 4 years ago. I don't know, because I don't remember much that happened 4 years ago.

I have been in a number of hospitals, emergency rooms, etc.; over the last 4 years - primarily due to back pain, but sometimes the back pain was after a fall when I lost control of my leg (once going up a stair and fell to bottom). My neurologist couldn't believe the doctors who saw me never considered stroke after a fall or loss of limb control.

Once was admitted with chest pain - shortly after an abnormal EKG, abnormal stress test, but ok cardiac cath. I have already had two heart attacks, my brother died of his second one last year and another brother had a triple bypass last year. Both of my grandfathers and one grandmother died of heart attacks too.

Good thing to know - for all of you out there - is that Social Security says "Your physical health problems limit you to sedentary work that involves mostly sitting. We realize that your condition prevents you from doing your past jobs, if any, but it does not prevent you from doing other work which is less physically demanding." Therefore - I'm not "disabled" enough to collect disability. The difficulty, of course, is in finding an employer who is insane enough to hire someone with my medical liabilities. Note the "if any" discussing previous employment. This after 30 years of paying into SS through a variety of jobs - they don't even bother to read the application.

From what I read, CADASIL isn't treatable and TIAs are just the forerunner to the one that either paralyzes or kills me. Aneurysms don't sound so great either. Could my symptoms have any other root cause(s)?

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replied April 1st, 2006
Neurological Disorders Answer A616
Your neurological symptoms could be caused by CADASIL but that diagnosis has to be confirmed by a genetic examination (PCA). Alzheimer’s disease or Multiplex sclerosis must also be consideredpossible reasons for your symptoms. An MRI-image is the most valid diagnostic tool for both diseases. An MRI with contrast can detect aneurisms, tumors, and infarcts in the brain. Perhaps when a diagnosis is established you can receive disability from your social security.
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