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All About Carotid Artery Disease

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11 Dec, 2023

Carotid artery disease, a subset of peripheral arterial disease, is a medical condition characterized by the narrowing or blockage of the carotid arteries. These crucial blood vessels located on either side of the neck are responsible for supplying oxygenated blood to the brain, face, and neck. Understanding the basics of carotid artery disease, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment, is paramount for maintaining cardiovascular health. We hope this article provides some insight into this serious medical condition.

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If you or a loved one suspects carotid artery disease, then visit a vascular specialist without delay. Residents in the area can call National Vascular Associates to schedule an appointment with a licensed vascular doctor today.

Understanding the Source

Carotid artery disease stems from atherosclerosis, a process involving the buildup of plaque within the arteries. Plaque consists of fatty deposits, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances that accumulate on the inner walls of the arteries and gradually impede the smooth flow of blood. This narrowing or blockage, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications, including strokes.

Risk Factors That Contribute to Carotid Artery Disease

The primary cause of carotid artery disease is atherosclerosis. Several risk factors contribute to the development and progression of atherosclerosis, ultimately leading to carotid artery disease. These risk factors include:

  • Genetic Predisposition: Those with a family history of atherosclerosis or cardiovascular diseases may be at an elevated risk.
  • Age: The risk of carotid artery disease increases with age, particularly in individuals over 65.
  • Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk.
  • High Cholesterol: Elevated levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol contribute to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
  • High Blood Pressure: Hypertension puts increased stress on arterial walls, making them more susceptible to damage and the deposition of plaque.
  • Smoking: The chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage blood vessels and promote the formation of plaque.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

Carotid artery disease often progresses without noticeable symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. However, some individuals may experience warning signs including transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), strokes, or carotid bruit.

Sudden weakness, numbness, or paralysis on one side of the face, arm, or leg, difficulty speaking, and other neurological symptoms may indicate a stroke. TIAs are brief episodes with stroke-like symptoms, serving as a precursor to more severe events.

Carotid bruit is more subtle. It is a whooshing sound over the carotid artery, detectable with a stethoscope, and indicates turbulent blood flow due to a blockage or narrowing.

Treatment for Carotid Artery Disease

The good news is that there are several approaches to treating carotid artery disease, and the best carotid artery disease treatment involves a multifaceted approach involving:

  • Lifestyle Modifications
  • Medications
  • Antiplatelet Medications
  • Surgical Intervention

By prioritizing heart-healthy lifestyles and adhering to medical advice, individuals can take proactive steps to safeguard against the progression of carotid artery disease and its associated complications. Periodic checkups are integral, and residents in the area are welcomed to National Vascular Associates for an evaluation. Our team is on standby to schedule an appointment or arrange a walk-in for as soon as possible.

Explore Our Other Treatments

Spider Vein Treatment
GSV and SSV Venous Ablation
Shoulder Embolization
Angioplasty Stent Atherectomy

National Vascular Associates

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