When doctors cannot determine the cause of an individual’s stroke, the stroke is cryptogenic. Most cryptogenic strokes may have an ischemic origin. This means they develop due to a blockage in a blood vessel that reduces the blood flow to the brain.
There is some uncertainty over what it means for strokes to be cryptogenic. As a
Of these strokes, roughly
This article provides a detailed overview of cryptogenic strokes, including their symptoms, causes, and risk factors. It will go on to discuss the diagnosis, treatment, and outlook for cryptogenic stroke before detailing some preventive measures.
The only difference between typical and cryptogenic strokes is whether doctors can determine the cause. For this reason, the symptoms of a cryptogenic stroke are the same as those of any other stroke.
According to the
- weakness in the face, leg, or arm, especially if this weakness affects only one side of the body
- vision difficulties, which could affect one or both eyes
- walking problems
- dizziness, lack of coordination, or lack of balance
- confusion, problems with speaking, or problems with understanding
- severe headache, seemingly without a cause
A stroke is a medical emergency, and anyone with signs of stroke needs immediate medical attention.
A cryptogenic stroke refers to a stroke of unknown cause. However, doctors and scientists can make educated guesses about what causes them.
According to the
- patent foramen ovale — a hole that develops between the left and right upper chambers of the heart
- atrial fibrillation — an atypical heart rhythm
- a fatty buildup of plaque inside the aorta
- a disposition to form blood clots
In some cases, a cryptogenic stroke could arise from infection, cancer, or a tear in an artery wall. However, these causes of stroke are less common than those above.
Stroke risk factors can increase the risk of someone developing a stroke. However, they are not necessarily causes of stroke and do not mean that the individual will experience one.
- being older
- being male
- a family history of stroke or similar diseases
- certain genetic conditions, such as sickle cell disease
It is unclear whether these risk factors are different for cryptogenic stroke specifically.
Authors of a
They also suggest that all cryptogenic strokes may be ischemic in origin. Therefore, some healthcare professionals believe that to diagnose a cryptogenic stroke, they must not be able to detect other causes of a stroke despite using the best diagnostic tools for ischemic strokes.
These methods include:
- CT and MRI scans
- cardiac rhythm monitoring
- blood biomarker tests
However, not everyone accepts this definition. For this reason, the diagnosis of cryptogenic stroke remains an issue for scientific debate.
Since doctors cannot be certain that someone’s cryptogenic stroke is ischemic, treating these strokes can be complicated.
However, there is
According to the above
However, evidence suggests that people have a 29% chance of having another stroke within 31 months of a cryptogenic stroke. For comparison, that figure is 27% for cardioembolic strokes and 13% for artery atherosclerosis and lacunar strokes.
Some people who experience a cryptogenic stroke will never have another stroke. However, strokes can lead to brain damage, which can cause long-term neurological impairments. Even with treatments, these impairments can greatly affect an individual’s quality of life.
It is impossible for an individual to prevent a stroke with complete certainty. However, some stroke risk factors are modifiable, which means that people could prevent a stroke by avoiding these.
- eating a non-nutritious diet
- drinking alcohol
- not regularly exercising
- having obesity
- having high blood pressure
- having diabetes
- having atrial fibrillation
An individual who has concerns about lowering their risk of stroke can speak with a doctor for guidance and support.
A stroke occurs when there is reduced blood flow within a person’s brain. They can arise from brain blood vessel ruptures — these are hemorrhagic strokes. Other strokes arise when a brain blood vessel has a blockage or becomes too narrow.
Sometimes, doctors are unable to determine the cause of a stroke — these are cryptogenic strokes. Their symptoms and risk factors are the same as those of regular strokes.
There is some evidence that all cryptogenic strokes have an ischemic origin. This would explain why anticoagulants are effective in treating both types of stroke. Treatment for cryptogenic strokes nonetheless remains challenging.