How White Matter in the Brain Impacts Stroke Risk

by | Apr 2, 2024

Do you know the pivotal role of white matter when it comes to brain health? Explore how it influences cognitive function, neurological conditions, and stroke risks.

Two smiling beautiful women

What is White Matter?

The human brain is one of the most complex organisms known to man. There are many things to know about when it comes to the construction of the brain and how it works. One of the important elements is known as white matter.

The Cleveland Clinic defines white matter in the brain in the following terms:

White matter is made up of a large network of nerve fibers (axons) in your brain that allows the exchange of information and communication between different areas of your brain. It’s called “white matter” because the nerve fibers are covered in a protective sheath called myelin, which gives the tissue its white color.

Essentially, without white matter, the brain could not perform the role that it does in our lives. In fact, life itself would not be possible.

White Matter and Stroke

There are certain risk factors of stroke that can be noted before a stroke occurs. One such factor is white matter disease. This is considered to be a biomarker of a heightened risk of stroke. If one is diagnosed with white matter disease, they have every reason to be concerned about the possibility of suffering from a stroke at some point in their life. Read more about the early warning signs of mild stroke and how to spot a stroke fast.

Diagnostic Techniques to Assess White Matter in the Brain

There are certain diagnostic measures used to identify white matter in the brain. Two main options are:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – Imaging of the brain that can help identify the amount of white matter in the brain and detect any potential signs of disease in that white matter.
  • CT Scan – This scanning technique is also used to detect internal injuries and diseases within the body that cannot be seen by the naked eye.

Both of these options can potentially be used to detect white matter disease early. Abnormalities in white matter, known as lesions, are seen as “white spots” or bright areas on brain scans.

Credit: Elsevier/Academic Radiology

White Matter and Alzheimer’s Disease

There is a close connection between the development of Alzheimer’s Disease and white matter abnormalities. Often, those abnormalities are only detected after the patient has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Regardless, the science indicates that there is a connection between the two, and this is another reason to be concerned about any white matter diseases or ailments.

White Matter Disease and Disorders

Elderly patients who suffer from white matter disease often suffer at least a “mild” form of dementia if not worse. It can be one of the most challenging issues that someone has to go through, and it is difficult on the family of that individual as well. It is yet another reason to focus on white matter disease prevention.

Improving and Increasing White Matter

Increasing the amount of white matter in your brain is an excellent way to fight back against the risk of stroke and other issues that might crop up with white matter disease. If you can also improve the quality of that white matter, then you are in even better shape. A great way to do this is to focus on physical exercise. This stimulates the white matter within your brain and helps to keep your brain healthy.

Stroke Prevention

Several steps can be taken to help reduce your risk of stroke. Namely, the CDC recommends taking some of the following measures:

These steps and more can help you reduce the risk of stroke prevention.

Stroke Screening

Speaking with your doctors ahead of any potential risk of a stroke is a great way to screen for the risk of having a stroke. The earlier that you can detect something like this, the better off you will be. Ask your medical professionals about this and see what level of risk you currently stand at.

Treatment and Management

A stroke does not have to be a fatal event, and it is possible to treat and manage your stroke. It is always a serious medical situation that should be addressed as soon as possible. Make sure you speak with your doctor about relevant medications and other treatment measures to help take care of the impacts of your stroke.

Compassionate World-Class Stroke Screening, Prevention, and Management in Singapore

With our commitment to your well-being, the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic provides a comprehensive range of treatments backed by the latest advancements in medical science for stroke. Strokes are a serious medical condition that require immediate attention. Our stroke specialist in Singapore, Dr. Manish Taneja, has a dedicated stroke screening program designed to identify individuals who may be at risk of a stroke or have already experienced one, even if they are not yet showing symptoms. From advanced interventions to personalized management and prevention programs, we will work closely with you and your loved ones to create a tailored plan. Contact us today at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore.

How Brain Aneurysms Affect Stroke Risk

A brain aneurysm is a weak or bulging area in the wall of an artery in the brain. When an aneurysm ruptures or bursts, it can lead to a type of stroke called a hemorrhagic stroke.

Consult a Stroke Specialist in Singapore

Dr. Manish Taneja, is an expert in endovascular and image guided neurointerventional procedures of brain and spine. He has special interest in treatment of brain aneurysms, stroke and vascular malformations. Come in for a further evaluation and arrange an appointment today with our stroke specialist.


Dr. Manish Taneja performing surgery

Stroke Resources

Stroke in Younger Adults: What You Need to Know

Most experts consider young stroke to pertain to individuals under the age of 45. Today, there is a growing trend of younger and middle-aged adults suffering from stroke. 

young adults enjoying barbecue outdoors

We’ve Got You Covered for Specialized Stroke Screening, Prevention, and Management

Imagine heart attacks where the blood flow to your heart is blocked. Similarly, a stroke occurs when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted becoming a “brain attack”. When blood supply does not reach a certain part, brain cells begin to die. Different types of stroke include ischemic strokes (blockage of blood vessel due to blood clot) or a mini stroke, a TIA (transient ischemic attack), with no permanent damage yet serious. Stroke also occurs when a blood vessel in the brain pops causing bleeding in the brain.

Certain areas of the brain can be affected by stroke and some symptoms of a stroke including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood sugar levels increase the risk of stroke whereas an active lifestyle or controlling high cholesterol reduces the risk. How well do you know stroke? Find tips to prevent and manage stroke, the differences in stroke screening tests, and the newer technology and treatments available. Come in for an easy consultation and further evaluation with our stroke specialist in Singapore at the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic. 

Supreme Vascular and Interventional Stroke Programs

Brain Aneurysm Resources

Discover brain aneurysm resources that go beyond the basics designed for patients. Understand the meaning of  a brain aneurysm condition, the causes, symptoms, signs, and more. Connect with your brain health.

Put Brain Aneurysm on Your Health Radar

Did you experience the worst headache of your life? Could it be a brain aneurysm that ruptures, which means bleeding in the brain? Thoughts could be racing through your mind. Then what is the difference between unruptured (a weak or thin spot on an artery in the brain that balloons) or ruptured brain aneurysm? If you’re wondering, then the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is here to help. It’s important to look out for the tell-tale brain aneurysm symptoms, signs, causes, and risk factors.

Dr. Manish Taneja has been performing brain aneurysm treatments since 1995 from surgical clipping to latest minimally invasive procedures. Each patient is unique as is the size and location of the aneurysm. Your brain has different conditions to treat the aneurysm and artery vessel walls of a blood vessel in the brain. This calls for personalised brain aneurysm treatment depending on your symptoms, family, history, medication, and more. A simple CT scan could be just what the doctor ordered and the first step in early detection and prevention of a brain aneurysm. Come in for an easy consultation with our brain aneurysm specialist in Singapore to be on your health radar.

Other Health Conditions

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various neurological conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our neurointervention specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.