Carotid Artery Disease
Neuro and Spine Surgeries
Brain AneurysmWhat is Brain Aneurysm?Read more...
Brain SurgeryWhat is Brain Surgery?Read more...
Brain TumorWhat is Brain Tumor?Read more...
CraniosynostosisWhat is Craniosynostosis?Read more...
Carotid Artery DiseaseWhat is Carotid Artery Disease?Read more...
Carpel Tunnel SyndromeWhat is Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?Read more...
EpilepsyWhat is Epilepsy?Read more...
HydrocephalusWhat is Hydrocephalus?Read more...
Herniated DiscWhat is Herniated Disc?Read more...
HeadacheWhat is Headache?Read more...
Lumbar Spinal StenosisWhat is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?Read more...
Parkinson DiseaseWhat is Parkinson Disease?Read more...
StrokeWhat is Stroke?Read more...
Spina BifidaWhat is Spina Bifida?Read more...
Spinal Cord InjuryWhat is Spinal Cord Injury?Read more...
Spinal FusionWhat is Spinal Fusion?Read more...
Spinal LaminectomyWhat is Spinal Laminectomy?Read more...
Spinal TumorWhat is Spinal Tumor?Read more...
What is Carotid Artery Disease?
The carotid arteries are two large blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the large, front part of the brain. This is where thinking, speech, personality, and sensory and motor functions reside. You can feel your pulse in the carotid arteries on each side of your neck, right below the angle of the jaw line. Carotid artery disease occurs when fatty, waxy deposits called plaques clog your carotid arteries. Carotid artery disease is also called carotid artery stenosis.
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Symptoms of Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery disease may not cause symptoms in its early stages. Unfortunately, the first sign of carotid artery disease could be a stroke. However, you may experience warning symptoms of a stroke called transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs. Symptoms of TIA include -
These symptoms usually go away completely within 24 hours. However, you should not ignore them. Having a TIA means that you are at serious risk of a stroke in the near future.
Causes of Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid arteries can become stiff and narrow over time due to a gradual accumulation of plaques, which can restrict blood flow and result in carotid artery disease. Plaques consist of clumps of cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue and other cellular debris that gather at microscopic injury sites within the artery, creating a blood clot (thrombus). This process is called atherosclerosis. Following are the factors contributing to the damage are -
Factors that stress your arteries and increase the risk of injury, buildup of plaques and disease include the following -
High blood pressure - high blood pressure is an important risk factor for carotid artery disease. Excess pressure on the walls of your arteries can weaken them and leave them more vulnerable to damage.
Obesity - carrying excess pounds increases your chances of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and diabetes.
Smoking - nicotine can irritate the inner lining of your arteries. It also increases your heart rate and blood pressure.
Age - as you age, your arteries become less elastic and more prone to injury.
Abnormal blood-fat levels - high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, and high levels of triglycerides, a blood fat, encourage the accumulation of plaques.
Physical inactivity - lack of exercise contributes to a number of conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
Diabetes - diabetes affects not only your ability to handle glucose appropriately but also your ability to process fats efficiently, placing you at greater risk of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
Heredity - having a family history of atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease increases your risk of developing these conditions, as well.
Diagnosis of Carotid Artery Disease
Treatment for Carotid Artery Disease
The treatment of carotid artery disease includes certain lifestyle changes along with the surgery.
Lifestyle changes include -
Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) - this has been the commonly performed procedure for patients who have carotid atherosclerosis and TIAs or mild strokes. While you’re under general anesthesia, an incision is made in the neck at the location of the blockage. The surgeon isolates the artery and surgically removes the plaque and diseased portions of the artery. Then, the artery is sewn back together to allow improved blood flow to the brain. The risks and benefits of CEA depend on your age, the degree of blockage, and whether you’ve had a stroke or TIA.
Carotid artery stenting (CAS) - carotid artery stenting (CAS) is a newer treatment option. It’s less invasive than carotid endarterectomy and is performed in a catheterization laboratory. With CAS, a small puncture is made in the groin. A specially designed catheter is threaded to the area of narrowing in the carotid artery. Once in place, a small balloon tip is inflated for a few seconds to open the artery. Then, a stent is placed in the artery and expanded to hold the artery open. A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that acts as a scaffold to provide support inside your artery. The stent stays in place permanently. CAS is a newer procedure, and there is still some controversy as to how well it prevents strokes caused by carotid artery disease.
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