carotid artery disease

Know the risk factors for carotid artery disease

carotid artery disease

Carotid artery disease refers to the narrowing of the carotid arteries, which are two large blood vessels that deliver blood to your brain and head. A buildup of fatty substances and cholesterol plaque will cause narrowing and obstruction. When the carotid arteries are obstructed, it decreases blood flow to the brain and can lead to a stroke. It’s important to know what you can do to help prevent the disease, as people who have carotid artery disease are at increased risk for coronary heart disease. Here are some of the biggest risk factors:

  • Older age. Your risk for atherosclerosis increases as you age, beginning in youth and progressing over a lifetime.
  • Smoking. Smoking is known to damage and tightens blood vessels, which leads to high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure and limit how much oxygen reaches the tissues throughout the body.
  • Unhealthy diet. Eating foods that are high in saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and sugar can worsen other risk factors for this disease.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension). If your blood pressure is at or above 140/90 mmHg over a period of time, it’s considered high. For those who have diabetes, 130/80 mmHg is considered high.
  • Abnormal lipids or high cholesterol. If you have high LDL (bad) or low HDL (good) cholesterol, you are at higher risk.
  • Metabolic syndrome. You have this syndrome if you have at least three of the five metabolic risk factors, which raise your risk for stroke and other health problems. They are a large waistline, high triglyceride level, low HDL cholesterol level, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.
  • Overweight and obesity. People who have unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, high
  • Lack of aerobic activity. Having a sedentary lifestyle and not getting enough aerobic exercise can worsen all the other risk factors for carotid artery disease.
  • Diabetes. People with diabetes are four times more likely to have carotid artery disease than people who don’t have diabetes. With diabetes, the blood sugar level is too high because the body doesn’t make enough insulin or use insulin properly.
  • Family history. People who have a family history of atherosclerosis are more likely to have this disease.

Carotid artery disease is a serious disease that requires treatment. Contact our office at (623) 258-3255 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Zakhary.


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