Carotid Artery Disease
What is Carotid Artery Disease?
Carotid artery disease occurs when the major arteries in your neck become narrowed or blocked. These arteries, called the carotid arteries, supply your brain with blood. Your carotid arteries extend from your aorta in your chest to the brain inside your skull.
Causes of Carotid Artery Disease
Your arteries are normally smooth and unobstructed on the inside, but as you age, a substance called plaque can build up in the walls of your arteries. Plaque is made up of cholesterol, calcium, and fibrous tissue. As more plaque builds up, your arteries narrow and stiffen. This process is called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
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 or a transient ischemic attack. Lifestyle changes to lower your risk include:
- Stop smoking
- Control diabetes
- Control blood pressure
- Be physically active
- Eat a low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol diet
Treatment for Carotid Artery Disease
Your treatment will depend on the severity of your condition, and whether or not you are having symptoms from the carotid artery disease, as well as your general health. As a first step, your physician may recommend medications and the lifestyle changes.
Carotid Artery Stenting is a non-surgical procedure that can be used to dilate (widen) narrowed or blocked carotid arteries. A tiny coil (stent) is expanded inside the blocked artery and is left in place to keep the artery open. Carotid artery stent procedures are performed with special devices (embolic protection devices) to prevent plaque from entering the circulation of the brain during the stent procedure.
For more information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of an aortic aneurysm or to make an appointment with a CIVT physician call 212.305.7060.