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Carotid Stenosis

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Carotid stenosis is the buildup of plaque in the artery that supplies blood to the brain. Plaque is the accumulation of fatty substances in the blood that build up along the artery walls, this can cause the artery to harden and narrow. When the carotid artery narrows, it dramatically increases the likelihood of stroke.  

Symptoms

Symptoms of carotid stenosis are rare, typically stroke is the first major symptom of carotid stenosis.However there are symptoms or warning signs of stroke. These can include:

  • Confusion
  • Coordination loss or loss of balance
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Difficulties understanding what others are saying
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness or weakness in one side of the face or body
  • Vision loss or blurred vision in one or both eyes

These symptoms may be indicative of a transient ischemic attack, abbreviated as TIA and known as a mini-stroke. One or all of these symptoms may occur lasting only a few minutes or a few hours. A person experiencing these symptoms should be assessed by a medical professional immediately, as TIA can be an indicator of a future stroke.

Causes

Arteriosclerosis causes carotid stenosis. Getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can prevent or delay arteriosclerosis. Risk factors for the development of arteriosclerosis and subsequently carotid stenosis include:

  • Age, those 75 or better are most commonly affected by carotid stenosis
  • Diabetes
  • Hereditary conditions
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Treatment

A carotid endarterctomy is one of the treatment options the surgeons at Cardiac Surgery Associates of Tampa can offer. Carotid endarterctomy is a procedure that physically removes the plaque from the artery. This is typically offered to patients with only 25% normal carotid artery functionality. Carotid artery stenting is another treatment option for carotid stenosis. Carotid stenting is a minimally invasive procedure where a long hollow tube is inserted into the carotid artery and a metal stent is implanted where the artery is obstructed. This stent forces the artery open and compresses the fatty tissue.

If you or someone you know if concerned about developing or treatment for a carotid stenosis, please contact the Cardiac Surgery Associates of Tampa online or by phone at 813.910.0027.