Carotid Disease – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments!

Carotid Disease – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments of this condition. Also, Carotid Disease is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the carotid arteries. You have two common carotid arteries, one on each side of your neck . Each of them divides into internal and external carotid arteries.

The internal carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood  to your brain . The external carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood  to the face, scalp, and neck . Carotid artery disease  is one of the leading causes of stroke in the United States.

Other conditions, such as certain heart problems and bleeding in the brain , can also cause strokes. Lifestyle changes, medications, and medical procedures can help prevent or treat carotid artery disease and can reduce your risk of stroke.

Causes of Carotid Disease: Carotid Disease is typically caused by atherosclerosis , a disease  where plaque builds up in the arteries. A similar buildup occurs in the blood vessels of the heart when someone has coronary  artery disease. The plate contains clusters of:

  • Cholesterol
  • Fat
  • cell waste
  • Protein
  • Calcium

Atherosclerosis can make your carotid arteries narrower and less flexible over time, which limits the amount of blood flow to your organs. Carotid Disease can also be the result of other diseases that cause arterial damage.

Symptoms of Carotid Disease: Initially , Carotid Disease usually does not produce any signs or symptoms. The condition can go unnoticed until it is severe enough to starve your brain  of blood , causing a stroke.

Signs and symptoms of a stroke or TIA include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face or limbs, often on just one side of the body
  • Sudden problems speaking and understanding;
  • Sudden problems seeing in one or both eyes ;
  • Sudden dizziness or loss of balance;
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

Carotid Disease Diagnoses: Your doctor will start by taking a health history and examining you. This will help determine your risk factors for developing Carotid Disease . These include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and family history. The first test your doctor will usually order is an ultrasound of the carotid vessels.

This is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to look at the carotid arteries and assess blood flow through them. Sometimes more information is needed and a CT angiogram or Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA) may be ordered. These tests involve contouring (dyeing) and using xrays for CT, or magnetic fields for MRA to create an image of the artery.

Treatments for Carotid Disease: Your doctor will base the Carotid Disease treatment plan on your symptoms and whether or not you have had a stroke. If you are diagnosed with Carotid Disease before having a stroke, your doctor will suggest that you make preventative lifestyle changes. These include:

  • Quit smoking if you smoke;
  • Exercise regularly;
  • Consume healthy foods;
  • Manage any chronic conditions such as heart disease  and diabetes;
  • Take prescription drugs.

Treatment is more invasive if you are diagnosed with Carotid Disease after having a stroke. Your doctor may need to open your carotid artery to remove the blockage. There are two different ways to do this.

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