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82 years old diagnosed with periventricular leukoencethal. Could it cause death?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1996
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My 82 year old mother has been diagnosed with periventricular leukoencethal. I read about it in relations to the white matter around the brain. The research talks most about children not elderly people. Can you tell me what to expect and if this could cause death. I really want to know how concerned I should be. We went for test because she had a short spell one day of slurry speech and then it went away as fast as it came. What can I do to help her?
Posted Wed, 21 Nov 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Prasad Akole 4 hours later
Thanks for writing to us.

I think you meant ‘periventricular leukoencephalopathy’.

It is related to age related changes in the vessels supplying the XXXXXXX white matter of the brain around the ventricles (the spaces within the brain).

It is common at this age group and is often associated with XXXXXXX infarcts (mini-strokes)…that was why there was slurring of speech indicating a potential to cause a clinical stroke.
Many small infarcts can progress to dementia, slow mental deterioration etc.

It cannot directly cause death. There is no immediate danger to life, but it does indicate that she is predisposed to develop stroke / dementia.

You should see a good neurologist, geta risk factor work up, like physical exam, lipid profile (cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, etc), ECG, 2D echo and as advised on examination.
Low dose aspirin is generally started to slow the progress.
Blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, diabetes and other risk factors (if present) need to be tightly controlled.

Uncommonly, if there was fever, headache, vomiting etc, there may be an infective cause underlying.
Please describe the symptoms in great detail so that I can be of greater help to you.
Keep a watch for any new slurring, facial asymmetry, tingling numbness in the limbs, weakness, paralysis, mental changes, forgetfulness, giddiness etc.

It may not cause any threat as well !! So, do not worry , but get her evaluated.
If possible, upload the entire MRI report/images here using the uploader available below the text box.

I hope you are fully satisfied with the guidance I gave.
I would be glad to answer any further queries.
Thank you and Good luck!

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