What is carotid stenosis, its symptoms, and treatments?

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Carotid stenosis, also known as carotid artery stenosis is the disease when the large arteries present on both sides of the neck narrow down due to fatty deposits. These arteries are responsible for delivering blood to your head and brain. This blockage increases the risk of a medical emergency caused by a stroke when the brain’s blood supply is restricted and reduced. When the brain lacks oxygen, brain cells begin to die within minutes.

The initial signs of having carotid artery stenosis may be a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or a stroke. TIA is the shortage of blood flow to the brain. Carotid stenosis treatment normally includes a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and in worst case scenarios, surgery. Peak Heart and Vascular offers cutting-edge treatments that might help you manage carotid stenosis. Our talented team provides suggestions for lowering the risks of major complications. You can call us on our helpline to make an appointment, in case you need help with carotid stenosis.

Carotid stenosis symptoms

Carotid stenosis doesn’t often display any symptoms or signs during its early stages. The condition may not be serious enough and remain unnoticed until your brain is deprived of blood causing TIA or a stroke. The major signs and symptoms of TIA or stroke are

  • Sudden dizziness and loss of balance
  • Sudden weakness or numbness, that often causes to one side of the body
  • Sudden trouble in vision
  • A sudden and severe headache
  • Sudden trouble in understanding or speaking

Carotid Artery Stenosis Diagnosis

It is likely that your doctor will start the carotid artery stenosis diagnosis by going through your medical history and performing a physical examination. This examination usually includes listening over the carotid artery for a swooshing sound. This sound is a characteristic of a narrowed artery. The doctor may also test your mental and physical capabilities such as speech, strength, and memory. Further tests might include

  • MRI or CT scan
  • Ultrasound
  • MR angiography or CT angiography

Carotid Artery Stenosis Treatment

The main goal for carotid stenosis treatment is to prevent stroke or TIA. The specific treatment options depend on the amount of blockage in the arteries. In case the blockage is mild to moderate, the below-mentioned treatments may be recommended by your doctor.

  • Changes in lifestyle for slowing the progression of atherosclerosis: These lifestyle changes may include losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, and reducing the consumption of salt.
  • Medications for lowering cholesterol or controlling blood pressure: Recommendations may include taking a blood-thinning medication such as daily aspirin for preventing blood clots.

If you have already suffered a stroke or TIA and the blockage is severe, the doctor might recommend removing the blockage. The treatment options include

  • Carotid endarterectomy: This carotid artery stenosis treatment is most common for severe carotid artery stenosis. After applying a cut in the front of your neck, the plaques are removed by the surgeon from the affected carotid artery. After the procedure, the cut in the artery is repaired by either a graft or stitches.
  • Carotid angioplasty and stenting: This carotid artery stenosis treatment is carried out in case the blockage is hard to reach through carotid endarterectomy or you possess other health issues making the surgery too risky. After giving local anesthesia, a small balloon is threaded to the clogged area through the catheter. The balloon is then inflated for widening the artery, and a tiny wire mesh is placed to resist the artery from narrowing again.

Conclusion

The treatment for severe carotid stenosis is risky and complicated. Carotid stenosis can lead to stroke due to ruptured plaques, reduced blood flow, and blood clot blockage. Therefore, it is better to prevent the progression of carotid stenosis through lifestyle changes before the disease gets critical. Can Pilonidal Sinus Cause Fistula

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