Carotid artery stenosis

Carotid artery stenosis is termed as the narrowing down of the inner surface of the carotid artery. It is also called as atherosclerosis. The carotid artery is a large artery. Its pulse can be observed on the sides of the neck right under the jaw. While the supply of internal artery goes to the brain, the supply of external artery will go to the face. The internal carotid arteries will be narrowed due to the atheromatous plaque which will be inflamed condition. The plaque can be in stable condition as well.

Risk for stroke

Emboli present in the plaque will travel through the blood vessels. With the constriction of the artery, the size of the vessel will be reduced. There might be a risk to stroke with the restriction of blood supply. The block can be either temporary or permanent. If it is transient ischemic attack, it will be temporary in nature. On the other hand, if it is thromboembolic stroke, there will be a permanent effect. The risk for stroke will be assessed with or without the presence of symptoms. Through image based diagnosis, the degree of Carotid artery stenosis will be assessed. Ultrasonography is the first of its kind diagnostic measure as it is simple and non-invasive.

Carotid Artery Stenosis

CTA (Computed Tomography Angiogram) and MRA (Magnetic Imaging Angiogram) are widely used procedures to diagnose the disease.

Signs and symptoms

If a patient gets a transient ischemic attack (TIS), it is a warning sign. Within the following 2 days, permanent strokes are likely to affect the person. TIS attacks will stay for less than 24 hours. In some instances, the loss of sensation in the limb and the trunk area will take place. There is the possibility of loss of sight as well especially in one eye. Artery sounds and ringing noise in the ears are less predominant symptoms.

Treatment

The treatment to patient suffering with Carotid artery stenosis is meant to reduce the risk of stroke. By going for carotid endarterectomy, the risk of stroke can be reduced to 5 years by 50%. The mortality rate in patients suffering with carotid endarterectomy will be less than 3%. As per clinical guidelines, patients suffering with carotid endarterectomy should go through medication. Anti-hypersensitive, anti-clotting and anti-platelet drugs are used in this process. The inflammation and plaque size will be minimized through statins. As a matter of fact, statins are administered to reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood.

If a patient suffers with symptomatic carotid stenosis, carotid endarterectomy will be prescribed on an urgent basis. This measure is taken so that the risk of stroke can be reduced. It is possible to reduce the risk of stroke or death by 50% by implementing carotid endarterectomy. Various kinds of clinical trials are happening so that the risk of stroke can be minimized or totally prevented. Extensive trials are also conducted so that death at the time of surgery can be prevented. There is no sufficient evidence to prefer stenting instead of an operation to deal with the issue.

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Carotid Artery Stenosis: Its Diagnosis and Treatment options

Some of the diseases can go undetected and the likes of carotid artery stenosis can only be ascertained when the person experiences a stroke. What is carotid artery? It is the large artery which can be easily felt on both sides of the human jaw. At the throat it forks into what would be called internal and external carotid arteries. While the internal carotid artery supplies blood to the brain and the external artery supplies blood to the face. When there is an abnormality in the artery whereby the same becomes narrowed then it is called carotid artery stenosis.

The disease occurs when fat forms and waxy deposits like plaques form and clog the carotid artery. This increases the risk of stroke as the blood supply is considerably reduced. As it develops slowly the person often do not have any knowledge about it until a stroke occurs. The causes of the disease may include alcohol abuse, use of cocaine, and history of strokes in the family, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, old age and smoking. The seriousness of the carotid artery stenosis depends upon the age of the person and the severity of the disease and this may vary from person to person.

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How is the disease identified?

Your carotid artery stenosis can be identified through some symptoms that may even relate to other medical conditions. As there is no proper symptoms for the disease doctors may ask you certain questions with which they may relate to the disease. These are whether you have had a stroke or even a mini stroke before. In some cases the person may experience blurred vision, confusion, loss of memory, loss of sensation, weakness in one part of their body and speaking problems.

You may be required to take a few clinical tests as per your doctor’s advice. These may be a blood cholesterol test or blood sugar test or both. Your doctor may again suggest you take an ultrasound scan of the carotid artery to ascertain whether the disease is just what he or she has been thinking.

The moment the disease is detected your doctor may put a control on your diet as well ask you to stop drinking or smoking which can further complicate things and put your life at risk. The treatment options of carotid artery stenosis are few including medicines and surgery.

Treating the disease

You may be asked to make certain lifestyle habits with your doctor when your carotid artery stenosis is detected. In order to reduce the risk of a stroke you may be asked to put some control on your diet. The doctor in the meantime may suggest medication that can put controls on your cholesterol levels. This again may be taken to regulate the flow of blood through the arteries. You may need to be hospitalized if your condition is a little severe and that you have symptoms of having suffered a mild stroke. Your doctor would suggest a carotid artery stenosis surgery to remove the plaque that must have built up in your arteries.

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