Can you tell me more about Sneddon syndrome?

I have been diagnosed with Sneddon syndrome after having a stroke aged 35. Apparently this is a rare condition and no one seems to know much about it. Can you tell me more?

Dr Mike Knapton says:

Sneddon syndrome is characterised by a disease of the small to medium-sized arteries, increasing the likelihood of a blood clot forming in the arteries (especially those supplying the brain and skin). It is very rare, with an estimated one in 250,000 people diagnosed each year. It’s most commonly seen in women aged 20 to 42.

Characteristically, a red to bluish mottling or rash can develop, typically on the arms, legs and buttocks.

Sneddon syndrome is a relatively rare cause of stroke

People with Sneddon syndrome may also have symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon, where blood flow to fingers and toes is restricted. Sneddon is also linked with an increased risk of high blood pressure, kidney problems, heart valve disease and dementia.

Unfortunately, the cause is rarely known, though for some patients it appears to be genetic. Treatment for Sneddon syndrome usually involves anticoagulation with a prescription of warfarin to reduce the risk of blood clots.

If a blood clot forms in an artery supplying the brain, this can cause a stroke. A stroke is a potentially devastating condition that commonly causes weakness on one side of the body. It can result in loss of speech and in some cases prevents someone being able to manage on their own.

Sneddon syndrome is a relatively rare cause of stroke. Generally, strokes are more common in older people, over 65, and are rarely seen in younger adults.

A stroke is a medical emergency. If you or someone you’re with experiences a stroke, it’s important to get medical help by calling 999 for an ambulance.

Mike KnaptonMeet the expert

Dr Mike Knapton is Associate Medical Director (Prevention and Care) at the BHF, overseeing the strategic role in helping patients and the public reduce their risk of heart disease. He remains a GP and works one day a week at a practice in Cambridge.

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