Carotid Artery Disease
What is Carotid Artery Disease?
Carotid artery disease occurs when there is a build-up of plaque in the carotid arteries. This can restrict blood flow to the brain and can also cause blood clots to form. If pieces of the blood clot travel in the blood to the brain, this can cause symptoms or stroke (death of brain cells).
Symptoms of Carotid Artery Disease
When the blood flow to part of your brain is reduced, a stroke can occur. In some cases, a ministroke, or a transient ischemic attack, can be a warning sign. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) can last a few moments or up to a full day. This can cause weakness in an arm or leg and may cause temporary blindness or slurring of speech. If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help right away.
Call 911 right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs (especially on one side)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or trouble understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eye
- Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance
- Severe headache with no known cause
Diagnosing Carotid Artery Stenosis
Your doctor will perform a variety of tests to confirm if you have carotid artery stenosis. These may include imaging tests, such as an ultrasound.
Treatment Options for Carotid Artery Disease
Treatment for carotid artery disease depends on symptoms and how narrow the artery has become. Treatment options for carotid arteries may include:
- Lifestyle changes including quitting smoking. This can improve your condition.
- Medications such as aspirin, which can help reduce blood clotting.
- Surgical treatment if you are at a high risk for stroke.
Surgical Treatment Options
- Carotid Endarterectomy – A surgical procedure that opens the artery to clear out any blockage. This is done through an incision in the neck. This treatment typically involves a quick recovery with little pain.
- Carotid Artery Stenting – Minimally invasive procedure that widens the artery and helps hold it open. A catheter is used to place the stent in the artery. Your doctor will need to talk to you during the procedure, but you are given medication so you will have no pain.
Schedule a Consultation
Our team has decades of experience treating a wide range of vascular conditions. To learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of cerebrovascular disease, call our Reno office at 775-323-3000. Nevada Vein and Vascular serves Reno, NV and surrounding areas.