Cerebral arteriosclerosis is the result of thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries in the brain. Symptoms of cerebral arteriosclerosis include headache, facial pain, and impaired vision. Cerebral arteriosclerosis can cause serious health problems. If the walls of an artery are too thick, or a blood clot becomes caught in the narrow passage, blood flow to the brain can become blocked and cause an ischemic stroke. When the thickening and hardening is uneven, arterial walls can develop bulges (called aneurysms). If a bulge ruptures, bleeding in the brain can cause a hemorrhagic stroke. Both types of stroke can be fatal.

Treatment for cerebral arteriosclerosis can include medications or surgery. Physicians also may recommend treatments to help people control high blood pressure, quit cigarette smoking, and reduce cholesterol levels, all of which are risk factors for cerebral arteriosclerosis.

Cerebral arteriosclerosis can lead to life threatening health events such as ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes. People who survive stroke may have long-term neurological and motor impairments.

Prepared by the National Institutes of Health