Cerebral micro-infarcts are small vascular lesions that present without generating symptoms and are generally of ischemic origin; that is, the blood flow is reduced or stopped, generating an injury in a certain part of the brain due to the lack of oxygen.
Normally, these small lesions occur in areas of the brain supplied by small arteries and arterioles. Although a micro-infarction does not lead to serious lesions, the accumulation of several of them could generate affections related to cognitive and motor aspects, according to information from the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, dedicated to scientific research on Alzheimer’s disease.
Microinfarctions are considered transient ischemic attacks and have the same origin as an ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke.
“During an ischemic stroke, a clot blocks blood flow to part of the brain. In a transient ischemic attack, unlike a stroke, the obstruction is brief and there is no permanent damage.
According to specialists, the underlying cause of this condition is usually an accumulation of fatty deposits containing cholesterol, located in an artery or one of its branches that supplies oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
Plaques can decrease blood flow in an artery or cause a clot to form. A blood clot that crosses an artery that carries blood to the brain from another part of the body, usually the heart, can also cause a transient ischemic attack.
The Pasqual Maragall Foundation, on its website, indicates that micro-infarcts play an important role in the development of vascular-type cognitive disorders and dementia. “These vascular accidents give rise to diffuse microlesions both in the cerebral cortex and in the white matter, which are the pathways that connect the structures and the different cortical areas of the brain”, he specifies.
Specialists assure that these conditions can generate effects both in the brain functionality and connectivity, which negatively impacts cognitive abilities.
The aforementioned source indicates that people with cerebrovascular disease and vascular dementia have a higher incidence of micro-cerebral infarctions compared to people with Alzheimer’s disease. “The extent of damage and the location of these lesions in the brain will be closely related to the cognitive abilities likely to be affected and the symptoms that manifest.”
How to prevent them?
The best way to prevent this type of ailments is to control some of the diseases that may be the underlying cause and these are the following:
– High cholesterol level. Eating fewer foods high in saturated and trans fats can help reduce plaque in your arteries. With changes in eating habits, this goal can be achieved, but if not, you can go to the doctor to send treatment that allows you to control cholesterol levels.
– Heart disease. These include heart failure, heart defects, heart infections, or abnormal heart rhythm.
– Diabetes. Diabetes increases the severity of atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of the arteries due to the buildup of fatty deposits. It also affects the rate at which this disease caused by cholesterol develops.
– Overweight. Obesity, especially extra weight around the abdomen, increases the risk of stroke in both men and women.