Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid artery disease (also known as Carotid Artery Stenosis) is the narrowing one or both of your carotid arteries. It's caused by the accumulation of fatty substances (plaques) that blocks the carotid arteries’ blood flow to the brain, head, and face. When this happens, it can lead to a stroke, resulting in permanent disability or death.

The collection of heavy debris that narrows the carotid arteries - atherosclerosis- is the leading cause of the condition. This can only be diagnosed through a physical exam as the patient may not initially experience symptoms when the inner layers of the carotid arteries are blocked.

Further diagnosis would involve tests like carotid doppler ultrasound and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). To treat a mild or slow progression case, your physician will recommend lifestyle changes like:

  • Exercising

  • No smoking

  • Maintaining healthy diet

  • Controlling diabetes

  • Limiting alcohol

  • Regular medical checkup

Carotid endarterectomy, Carotid artery angioplasty, and stenting are surgical procedures if the patient's condition is severe or they had a stroke. It is done to remove the blockages and prevent any future risk of stroke.

What are the symptoms and risk factors of Carotid Artery Disease?

As carotid artery disease progresses, you may not notice any symptoms at first. Plaques develop over time until they cause a stroke, mini-stroke, or transient ischemic attack. Seek medical attention as soon as you see signs of sudden weakness in your limbs on one side of the body, speaking trouble, or blurred vision.

Some common risk factors that lead to carotid artery disease are:

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Lack of physical activity

  • Family medical history

  • Sleep apnea

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