Your carotid arteries are located on either side of your neck, and deliver oxygen-rich blood to your brain. These major blood vessels can become narrowed and even blocked when cholesterol-based plaque builds up on the artery’s inner wall. If left untreated, carotid artery disease (CAD) can lead to stroke and a gradual deterioration of brain tissue as less oxygen is circulated through it in the blood.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with carotid artery disease in Arizona, Dignity Health offers a wide range treatments to halt and even reverse this condition. For the cardiology services you need, Find a Doctor at Chandler Regional Medical Hospital or St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, two nationally recognized leaders in heart and vascular care.
Carotid Artery Disease Symptoms
Because there often no noticeable symptoms of carotid artery disease (CAD) until it has advanced, many people do not even know they have the condition until they experience a transient ischemic attack (TIA). This is often called a ‘“mini-stroke.” Sometimes, a doctor may detect CAD during a routine physical exam. If your doctor hears a whooshing sound (known as Bruit) while listening with a stethoscope, a vascular ultrasound may be done to diagnose and confirm the presence of carotid artery disease.
Carotid Artery Disease Causes
The main cause of carotid artery disease is a buildup of fatty plaque along the inner walls of the arteries. Risk factors associated with plaque buildup include:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Poor diet
- Consistently high blood sugar levels
- Sedentary lifestyle (not exercising)
- Older age (as a person gets older, the risk increases because the disease can take several decades to develop)
Carotid Artery Disease Treatment at Dignity Health
Doctors at Dignity Health focus on reducing the buildup of plaque to prevent life-threatening events such as stroke. To treat carotid artery disease, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as:
- Quitting smoking
- Following a heart-healthy diet
- Regular exercise (every day, if possible)
If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, your doctor can prescribe medications to reduce the level of cholesterol in your blood, lower blood pressure (if you have hypertension), prevent blood clots, and treat other heart-related conditions.
If a combination of lifestyle changes and medication doesn’t successfully treat the problem, doctors at Dignity Health can perform minimally invasive surgery to either remove the plaque from your arteries or insert stents to keep the arteries open.
Dignity Health offers excellence in cardiovascular care to diagnose and treat carotid artery disease in Arizona.