Carotid artery disease is very serious, which is scary enough. But another scary thing about it is how quickly it can come on, sometimes without any warning at all. Should you be concerned about carotid artery disease?
What is carotid artery disease?
The carotid arteries are located in the neck, and they supply the brain with blood. As you can imagine, it is pretty important that these arteries are healthy and function well so that the brain can get enough blood to work properly!
However, if plaque builds up in these arteries, they can become narrow or blocked completely. This blocks the blood flow to the brain.
Unfortunately, a person may not realize they even have a problem with their carotid arteries until they have a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is like a “mini-stroke.”
What can be done about carotid artery disease?
The first sign a person has carotid artery disease may be a stroke or a TIA. However, there are some factors that you should be aware of that can put you at increased risk. Risk factors for carotid artery disease include:
- Health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, or diabetes
- A family history of atherosclerosis or other circulation problems
- A sedentary lifestyle
It is important to make regular visits to your doctor – even if the above risk factors don’t apply to you. Although symptoms may not appear until you are having a stroke or a TIA, your doctor may be able to tell that there is a problem, just by listening to your artery with a stethoscope. He or she can order imaging tests to confirm whether or not you have carotid artery disease.
In addition to regular check-ups, it is also important to stop smoking, exercise regularly, and take care of yourself!
If you have a family history of circulation problems or have other circulation or health issues, carotid artery disease is something to be aware of and something your doctor should check for often. Dr. Sammy A. Zakhary and his staff can help. Contact the Glendale, Arizona, office for a consultation, at (623) 258-3255.