Carotid Artery disease is mainly caused by atherosclerosis, thus affecting the blood flow to our brains, resulting in strokes.
The carotid arteries are the main arteries supplying our brains with blood and oxygen. There are two Carotid arteries, one on each side of our necks.
Plaque build-up ( Atherosclerosis) affects the blood flow, which might cause a piece of the plaque to break off and stop the blood flow to all or part of the brain. Thrombosis of the Carotid Arteries might also occur due to this sluggish blood flow. Which arteries are affected in the brain determines the stroke’s type, duration, and severity (Cerebrovascular accident). For instance, a small clot that dissolves quickly wound results in a TIA ( transient ischemic stroke). At the same time, a large clot in a major blood vessel in the brain would result in a significant disabling stroke.
Risks factors are advanced age if you have a history of smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or heart disease.
Carotid artery stenosis symptoms:
-May be absent: Most people with carotid artery disease, even with severe blockage, experience no symptoms. Instead, a routine physical or imaging for other diseases will discover the stenosis or blockage.
-The first signs of carotid artery disease may be a stroke, mini-stroke, or TIA symptoms, such as weakness or numbness on one side of your body. You may also experience slurred speech or facial drooping.
Doppler Ultra-Sound, CT-scan, or MRA maybe be used to image the carotid arteries. Depending on the presentation and planned procedure.
-Medication can help slow the progression of carotid artery disease. When there is a degree of narrowing, less than 50-60% Aspirin and medications lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. However, medications may need to be adjusted as the disease progresses.
If Carotid artery disease is symptomatic, the treatment is directed to managing the stroke and repairing the artery to prevent further strokes.
-Carotid Endarterectomy; is the surgical procedure in which we clean the artery from the plaque. It is considered the golden standard for managing Carotid artery disease by all international medical authorities.
-Carotid artery stent angioplasty, which is placing a stent inside the artery to prevent further strokes, is recommended in selected cases. However, it has a higher rate of complications than traditional surgical repair.