The duplex ultrasound scan that is used to screen patients for carotid stenosis is a pain-free outpatient test that is easy to perform and reliable in most non-invasive laboratories especially if the laboratory is ICAVL approved. The test is performed in under an hour and consists of placing gel on your neck and having the technician image your carotid arteries and measure their flow as well as taking pictures of the arteries themselves.
Carotid disease is called carotid artery stenosis. This term refers to the narrowing of the carotid arteries. The narrowing is usually caused by the build-up of fatty substances and cholesterol deposits called plaque. Carotid artery occlusion refers to complete blockage of the artery. When the carotid arteries are obstructed, there is an increased risk for stroke.
Like the artery that supplies blood to the heart, the carotid arteries can develop atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries” inside the vessels. The build-up of the fatty substances and cholesterol narrows the carotid arteries; this decreases blood flow to the brain and increases a stroke’s risk.
Causes of Carotid Diseases
The causes of carotid disease are very similar to those ofother types of cardiovascular diseases; these include:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Abnormal lipids or high cholesterol
- Insulin resistance
- Family history of atherosclerosis, either coronary artery disease or carotid artery disease.
Treatment of Carotid Disease
The treatment of Carotid Disease as suggested by our experts involves:
- Changes in lifestyle
- Taking in a proper and regular manner prescribed medications
- Undergoing treatment procedures
The following lifestyles are suggested by our Carotid surgeons at Advanced Veins and Vascular Management in order to prevent carotid disease from progressing further:
- Stop smoking and also quit using tobacco products.
- Controlling high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes,and heart disease is highly recommended.
- Routine doctor check-ups along with check-up of your lipid profile.
- Regulating saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium intake.
- Managing weight.
All patients with carotid artery disease should necessarily take anti-platelet medication to reduce stroke risk and other cardiovascular complications. The most commonly used anti-platelet medication is Aspirin.
A carotid stenting may be prescribed if there is a severe blockage in the carotid artery; a carotid disease surgery is necessary to open the artery, thereby increasing blood flow to the brain to prevent a future stroke.