The carotid arteries are the major arteries in your neck that bring blood to the brain. This disease is a result of narrow or blocked arteries, usually caused by plaque. If this plaque causes a blood clot to block the artery completely, the brain will stop receiving blood and you will have a stroke.
The first symptom of this disease may very well be a stroke. However, those with carotid artery disease may experience Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs), or stroke-like attacks. These last from a few minutes to an hour, and can involve the following symptoms:
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling on one side of the body
- Inability to speak clearly
- Loss of control of an arm or leg
- Blindness in one eye
If you experience these symptoms, see a doctor – even if they go away quickly. A TIA may be a warning of a future stroke.
This disease is caused by hardened or clogged arteries, called atherosclerosis. This phenomenon can be caused by smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, aging, or carotid artery disease in the family.
Living a heart-healthy life can maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure, keep arteries clear, and prevent carotid artery disease.
- Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins like nuts and fish
- Exercise regularly
- Keep your weight and diabetes under control
- Quit smoking
- 3D Echo
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Carotid Angiography
- Electrocardiograms (EKG, ECG)
- Lung and Oxygen Tests
- Peripheral Vascular Studies
- Stress Testing