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Carotid Artery Disease

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Carotid artery disease (CAD) or carotid artery stenosis is a narrowing of the carotid arteries caused by a build up of fatty deposits or plaque.  The carotid arteries are the 2 main arteries that supply blood to the brain.  If there is an insufficient blood supply to the brain, the brain is deprived of oxygen which can lead to stroke or death.  

Risk factors for CAD are increased age, smoking, uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, obesity and a family history of heart disease or CAD. 

CAD Symptoms:

Early in the disease, carotid artery stenosis has no symptoms.  But over time the build up of plaque can narrow the carotid arteries which may result in a TIA - transient ischemic attack - or stroke.  Symptoms of a stroke are sudden and can include the following, depending on which part of the brain is effected:

  • loss of vision
  • weakness or numbness on one side of the face or body
  • difficulty with balance or walking
  • dizziness
  • difficulty with speech or swallowing
  • severe headache and confusion

Transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs, have similar symptoms as a stroke, but are generally less severe and temporary.  A person can have full recovery after a TIA in a few minutes or hours.  However, TIA’s are an indication that there is narrowing in the carotid artery and are a risk for future TIA’s and stroke. 

It is very important if you or a loved-one experiences signs of a TIA or stroke that you immediately seek medical care. 

Carotid artery disease is a life-threatening condition.  Vascular surgeons at Sound Vascular can provide timely medical care and highly-skilled surgical treatment to ensure the best possible outcome.  

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