Carotid Artery Disease: How to Lower Your Risk of Stroke

Are you aware that a stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in adults in the United States? More specifically, one third of all strokes are due to carotid artery disease. Your two carotid arteries are located on either side of your neck, and their main purpose is to deliver blood and oxygen to your brain. A stroke occurs when blood is interrupted or something slows down the flow of blood. Let’s understand more about carotid artery disease and how to lower your risk of stroke.

What Is Carotid Stenosis?

Carotid stenosis is the same as carotid artery disease. It refers to a blockage in the carotid arteries where blood is blocked due to fatty deposits called plaque which clog up or narrow one orLady with 2 fingers on her neck. both arteries. When blood flow is reduced, a stroke occurs, and without a sufficient amount of blood and oxygen, brain cells begin to die.

Are There Early Signs of Carotid Artery Disease?

Sadly, the first symptom of carotid artery disease for many people IS a stroke. There are really no outward symptoms to warn you.

You have most likely heard of a “mini-stroke” and that is a first sign. It is also known as transient ischemic attack, or TIA.

So what are you supposed to do?

How to Lower Your Risk of Stroke

The most important thing you can do to prevent a stroke is to become knowledgeable of your personal risk factors. Once you are aware of them, you can do something about some of them, but not all. So concentrate on what you CAN change.

Some risk factors include the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Getting older
  • Family history of stroke
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Alcohol or recreational drugs

If you have several of the risk factors, see Western Vascular Institute in Arizona who can run a series of tests to determine if you have carotid artery disease.

If you have been diagnosed with carotid artery disease or have already had a mini-stroke, work with Western Vascular Institute to change some of your risk factors to lower your risk of stroke.

Take action and start with the following:

  • Stop smoking
  • Begin to get some regular exercise
  • Get your blood sugar levels in check
  • Control high blood pressure and cholesterol

Recognizing the Signs of a Stroke

Would you be able to recognize the signs of a stroke? They include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Weakness of numbness especially on one side of the body
  • Dizziness, problems with balance or coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Problems walking

If you or someone you know has some combination of these symptoms, get medical help immediately.

Contact Western Vascular Institute at (480) 668-5000 for a diagnosis of carotid artery disease and help lower your risk of a stroke.