If the major arteries in the neck become narrower or blocked because of excessive plaque buildup, you have a high risk of having a stroke. Carotid arteries are responsible for supplying the brain with blood so any blockages or issues with these arteries can trigger a stroke. There are ways to prevent carotid artery disease with lifestyle changes but if you develop a severe case of this disease, surgery may be necessary to remove the plaque deposits.
Understanding Carotid Artery Disease
Hardening of the arteries is the primary cause of carotid artery disease and can occur when the inner lining of the artery becomes damaged or blocked in some way. Plaque can build up along the artery walls if you have a smoking habit, eat an unhealthy diet, or if you are obese or overweight. Some older patients simply have narrowing carotid arteries as they age. A family history of carotid artery disease or diabetes are some other factors that can increase your chances of developing carotid artery disease or having a stroke.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being aware of the signs and symptoms of a stroke are important for patients that may be at risk or carotid artery disease. Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight ca prevent heart disease and related health problems.
Treatment Options for Carotid Artery Disease
Treatment for carotid artery disease may involve surgery or a minimally invasive procedure to remove the plaque deposits along the artery walls.
If you are undergoing surgery, the vascular surgeon will perform a carotid endarterectomy using local or general anesthesia. This involves making an incision in the neck and then removing the plaque in the inner lining of the carotid artery. Results are long lasting and most patients can return home the same day.
If you are undergoing an angioplasty and stenting (a minimally-invasive procedure), the surgeon will use local anesthetic to numb the area and then insert a long, thin tube through a small incision over a groin artery. A catheter that carries a tiny balloon works to flatten the plaque against the walls of the artery and a small tube called a stent will hold the artery open. Even though long-term results with this procedure are not available, this can be an attractive option for certain patients.
Learn more about treatment options for carotid artery disease and stroke by scheduling your appointment at our Los Angeles or Glendale office today.