Factors which Increase the Risk of Developing Carotid Artery Disease

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
July 19, 2021

What are your carotid arteries?

Your carotid arteries are on both sides of your neck. They supply blood to your brain.

What is carotid artery disease?

Carotid artery disease is a hardening of the arteries that causes them to narrow and develop blockages. It greatly increases the chances of a stroke, when blood flow to the brain is interrupted and is life-threatening.

Fatty plaque or deposits are what clogs the arteries. The disease develops over a long period of time. The first symptom, though, could be a stroke. In its early stages, there might not be signs or symptoms.

Risk factors of carotid artery disease

Genetics, diet, lifestyle choices, other medical conditions, and age are factors in the likelihood of getting carotid artery disease.

Some risk factors are natural, such as age and family history. Other conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood fat levels, and sleep apnea can lead to blockage in the carotid arteries.

Tobacco use and smoking increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Nicotine irritates the inner lining of arteries, making them weaker.

Obesity increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. It also increases the likelihood of all arterial diseases or blockages.

A lack of exercise harms your arteries while increasing the risk of diabetes, obesity, and other conditions.

Preventative steps

Lifestyle, diet changes, and working alongside your doctor are important ways to stop or slow carotid artery disease.

Good prevention steps include stopping smoking and limiting alcohol. For your diet, try limiting salt, fat, and cholesterol. Try eating more fruits and vegetables. Exercise helps manage and prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, high stress levels, and carotid artery disease.

Communicating with your doctor about other conditions, such as diabetes and weight, can make a great deal of difference.

Signs of a stroke

A stroke can be instantaneous with no prior noticeable symptoms.

According to the CDC, signs of a stroke include:

● Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, an extremity, or one side of the body

● Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech

● Sudden trouble seeing

● Sudden trouble walking, a feeling of dizziness, a loss of balance, or a loss of coordination

● Sudden severe headache with no known cause

At any sign of a stroke, see a doctor. Call 911 if needed. If your brain goes without blood for a few seconds, it can result in loss of function, permanent debilitation, paralysis, or memory loss. If your brain goes a couple of minutes with blood flow interrupted, it is life-threatening.

Carotid artery surgery

Carotid artery surgery is a possible option. Typically, it is not recommended until after a stroke.

During the surgical procedure, a surgeon will thread a tube or catheter from an artery in a groin or arm up to the carotid artery. The artery is inflated so a stent, or a small tube, can be placed in it.

Trust South Valley Vascular’s expertise

The medical experts at South Valley Vascular in Visalia, Porterville, and Hanford, California, specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases and conditions of the blood vessels. Our vascular surgeons will determine a treatment plan that provides the best benefits for your specific needs.