Carotid Artery Disease

What is Carotid Artery Disease?

Also known as Carotid artery stenosis, carotid artery disease refers to the carotid artery narrowing caused by deposition of fatty substances and cholesterol in the blood vessels. This blockage increases the risk of strokes in a person as the blood supply to the brain gets reduced or interrupted severely.

What are Carotid arteries?

The main function of arteries is to carry oxygen rich blood from heart to all parts of the body including the brain. Carotid arteries are the blood supplying arteries to the brain which can be felt on either side of the jaw on lower neck. They supply blood to the frontal part of the brain which is the control center for speech, personality, thinking and sensory functions.

What are the common symptoms of carotid artery disease?

There may or may not be any symptoms of this disease. However it is often accompanied by some warning signs like a transient Ischemic attack (TIA), also known as mini stroke. It happens when the blood supply to the brain is briefly blocked due to a blood clot. The symptoms accompanying the same may be temporary lasting for just a few minutes or few hours depending upon its severity. Some common symptoms of TIA are:

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Loss of activeness or coordination
  • Difficulty of coherent speech
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the body or face
  • Sudden vision loss

Medically, TIA is an emergency that can progress into a major stroke if care is not given. They are also considered to be a strong predictor of future strokes.

What are the risk factors for Carotid artery disease?

The risk factors of carotid artery disease are quite similar to various other heart diseases. These factors are:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Resistance to insulin
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Family history
  • Heart disease
  • Advanced age
  • Stress  
  • Sedentary or inactive lifestyle

What are the different complications that can arise from carotid artery disease?

Carotid artery disease is one of the main cause of stroke. These strokes are caused due to certain complications arising from carotid artery disease such as:

  • Interruption in blood flow due to narrowing by atherosclerosis
  • Rupturing of plaque followed by its travel to the smaller brain arteries. These fragments may then get stuck in any of these arteries causing blockages
  • Blockages caused due to blood clots formed because of plaques

Do talk to your doctor if you have any of the risk factors of this disease. Even though there may be no signs or symptoms, an aggressive management plan will protect you from any future strokes.

How to Treat Carotid Artery Disease?

The goal of all carotid artery treatments is to prevent stroke in a person. Depending upon whether your blockage is mild to extreme, your doctor may recommend one or a combination of following treatments:

  • Lifestyle change for slowing of atherosclerosis progression
  • Medication for controlling cholesterol or blood pressure
  • Carotid endarterectomy in which plaques are removed from the artery surgically.
  • Carotid angioplasty or stenting in which a balloon is inserted through a tube to widen the artery and a narrow mesh is inserted to keep it from narrowing again.

Early diagnosed & management effectively prevents long term disability and stroke. Book your appointment at Best Neurology Hospital in Delhi NCR today for consultation and treatment of this disease.

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