Carotid Artery Disease
Treatment for Carotid Artery Disease -- 718.780.3288
The carotid artery is the major artery that supplies blood from the chest to the brain. When this artery becomes narrowed or blocked due to plaque build up from cholesterol, calcium or fibrous tissue, it is known as carotid artery disease (CAD). This condition is serious and can cause a stroke.
Am I at Risk?
Carotid Artery Disease is more likely to develop as you age, and the risk increases with the presence of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent the onset of CAD, with the most important behavioral change being to quit smoking. Exercising, a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are all ways to ward off this disease.
What are the Symptoms?
CAD may not cause any symptoms in its early stages and in fact, the first sign that you have Carotid Artery Disease may be a stroke. However, there are warning signs of an impending stroke.
Weakness, numbness or tingling on one side of the body (such as an arm or leg)
Inability to control movement in an arm or leg
Loss of vision in one eye (like a shade coming down)
These symptoms are knowns as TIAs and may go away within 24 hours. They should not be ignored, even if they do pass. Contact a physician immediately because it could mean a stroke has already occurred.
How is it Diagnosed?
A routine physical exam which includes listening to the heartbeat, taking blood pressure and asking about medical history may indicate the potential presence of CAD. If it is suspected, your doctor may perform a carotid diplex ultrasound, which uses sound waves to see how the blood is flowing in the area around your neck. If more information is necessary, imaging tests may be recommended.
What is the Treatment?
How your NYM physician treats CAD depends on the severity of the condition and ranges from lifestyle changes to medications to surgery. At NYM, we perform the following surgeries:
Carotid Endarterectomy this is when a surgeon makes an incision in the neck and removes the plaque that has built up inside the inner lining of the artery
Angioplasty and Stenting this is a less invasive procedure where a surgeon inserts a long, thin tube called a catheter through a small puncture site in the groin. It is guided through the blood vessels and into the carotid artery where it first takes a picture (angiogram) and then another catheter is inserted with a tiny balloon that inflates and deflates, flattening the plaque against the walls of the artery. Finally, a stent is inserted to hold the artery open.
Your physician will weigh the benefits of each procedure with your own medical history to determine the best approach.
For more information on these procedures, talk to one of our surgeons by calling 718.780.3288.
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