What is Carotid Artery Disease?

The carotid arteries are the main arteries that supply blood to the brain. As you age, plaque builds up in the artery on one or both sides causing it to narrow. Small blood clots or pieces of these plaques can form, then break off and travel to the brain. These clots or plaques can potentially clog critical blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke. Because of this, Carotid Artery disease is responsible for up to one-third of all strokes because the blood supply to the brain is greatly reduced or suddenly interrupted.

What is my risk?

Risk for this disease increases as you age and if you have a history of smoking, high blood pressure, heart disease and high cholesterol.

What are the symptoms?

It is rare to experience symptoms with this disease, but occasionally patient will have sudden changes to one eye creating a temporary blindness or have weakness and loss of function on one side of the body that then returns to normal.  These are called “mini-strokes” or Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs).

How is this disease treated?

A combination of medications can help slow the progression, but surgery may be recommended if the degree of blockage is over a certain percentage. If you develop Carotid Artery Disease, you will need regular carotid artery ultrasound checks.

Learn more about the diagnosis and treatment here.

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