What is CARASIL?

Cerebral autosomal recessive arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy, commonly known as CARASIL, is an inherited progressive condition that causes strokes, problems moving, and other nerve and brain functioning issues. Health problems typically begin developing in an affected individual between ages twenty and thirty years. The first signs and symptoms of CARASIL are often muscle stiffness (spasticity) in the legs and problems with walking. These signs and symptoms can worsen slowly with time. As the disease progresses, individuals with CARASIL can also develop mood and personality changes, a decline in thinking ability (dementia), memory loss, and worsening problems with movement. Affected individuals increasingly require help with personal care and other activities of daily living; after a few years they may be completely unable to care for themselves. Most affected individuals die within 10 years after signs and symptoms first appear, however a small number of people with the disease have survived for up to 20 to 30 years.

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