It is well known that body ages with time and all of its structures get more rigid and weaker during its waste of stem cells or mutation of the DNA or programmed death also called apoptosis. During that period, blood vessels mature too and get more exposed to even the smaller changes, which can affect their function and structure. It may be nothing serious, but it can mean something more severe, so how to figure it out? You’ve heard about MRI and saw those pictures of the brain before. But, what does it mean and what can we see with it? MRI stands for “magnetic resonance imaging” which is a medical imaging technology that uses the magnetic field in order to move atoms from organ tissues due to high-frequency radio waves and measure it, leaving an image on the screen. The Microvascular ischemic disease is one of the things that can be seen on this kind of diagnostics. MRI is a good choice for visualisation of the soft tissue, like blood vessels in the brain.
What Is Microvascular Ischemic Disease?
Microvascular ischemic disease (MID) is a small vessel disease which narrows down the diameter of the vessel and leads to reduced supply of the blood for brain tissue. This can happen in a lot of cases, from simple as aging to some kidney and heart diseases. The level of the blockage can be from a smaller diameter, to such as a clot in the vessel which can lead to infarction of the brain tissue. Depending on the blockage, it can go from ischemic disease to structural changes like lesion and necrosis, which means that the tissue that is being affected is dead. These are the changes that can be seen on MRI. When this happens, since a certain field of the brain has its own function, it can be visible in a form of malfunction of the same.
Some Causes That Can Lead To MID
The causes can lead to MID in a short amount of time, making it acute ischemic syndrome or can have chronic effect which eventually lead to disease:
- High Cholesterol (Hypercholesterolemia)
- High Lever Of Sugar (Diabetes)
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- Heart And Kidney Disease
- Thrombosis Or Thromboembolism
How Can You Spot Microvascular Ischemic Disease?
This disease can be in a form where there are none of the symptoms to a few or severe ones. One can have a small vessel disease and small stroke and not even know about it. In those who have chronic disease, symptoms can occur:
- Loss Of Concentration
- Loss Of Short Memory And Lack Of Organisation
- Changes Of The Personality And Emotions
- Trouble Speaking (Aphasia)
- Trouble Swallowing (Dysphagia)
- Lack Of Motor Movements (Apraxia)
- Sudden Falls
- Loss Of Visual Fields (Scotoma)
- Loss Of Sensory Field (Neuropathy)
MRI Diagnostic Of Microvascular Ischemic Disease
Sometimes, when people don’t sense any symptoms and don’t have any problems, this kind of disease can go by unspotted. It can be revealed during some other scans and examinations, maybe if there is some other condition that demands MRI scan, such as a migraine, trauma, etc. MRI has no radiation, so to say, up till today, there were no side effects discovered. The contrast of gadolinium can be used to further enhance the spots of damaged tissue where they appear lighter than the rest of the tissue.
Normal MRI has a homogeneous look on the scan, where the brain gears or gyre are normal color and the structure doesn’t have any calcification which is the sign of necrosis and deposition of the calcium. That kind of spots are looking like they were some other kind of tissue or if they were lid up with a light spot.
Consequences Of The Spots On MRI
A pathological MRI scan has this kind of lid spots where they can be from singular to multiple lesions on the brain. If these spots are small and it is a small vessel disease, doctors can advise you to live a healthier life, meaning that you should cut out any factors that can lead to more serious diseases like a stroke. It can be changing your diet, quitting smoking, eating low-fat food with less salt in it, activity, etc.
In other cases of chronic, severe problems, the therapy can be depending on the origin of the problem. If it is a high blood pressure, the doctor may subscribe an aggressive therapy like antihypertensives and diuretics. Other conditions such as atherosclerosis and high cholesterol are conditions that are treated with some medications like statins and aspirin. There are also meds for diabetics and drugs for heart disease such as beta blockers. The microvascular ischemic disease is an irreversible state which can’t be fixed and cured. The only thing that we can affect is the main cause. If we prevent it, it is the best medication.
The Ultimate Consequences Of The Disease
If the vessels clot to a level that they cannot be revascularized and fluent again, the organ starts expressing the symptoms which tell that it’s not functioning anymore and it can be for life:
- Dementia. This kind of complication happens if the ischemic field of tissue seizes the part of the brain which controls the memory and cognitive function. This type of loss can cause Alzheimer’s disease.
- Heart Attack. If the clot or the thrombus made in a small vessel in the brain gets to the heart by small circulation and gets caught in the small capillaries of the heart, it can cause a cardiac infarction leading to dyskinesia or abnormal movement of the affected part of the heart.
- Kidney Failure. In some cases where there is a high level of sugar, it can also damage the small vessels in the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.
- Stroke. And at last, it can cause stroke, and if it’s large enough it can cause death.