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Carotid Artery Disease Can Lead to Stroke

Reduce Risk Factors for Better Brain Health

Carotid arteries in the neck take oxygenated blood to the front of the brain. When blood flow is impeded due to fatty deposits of cholesterol in the arteries, or atherosclerosis, that can lead to the brain attack known as a stroke.

Gregory Domer
Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon Gregory Domer, MD

“Most people are familiar with coronary artery disease,” says vascular and endovascular surgeon Gregory Domer, MD. “Where plaque builds up, limiting the blood flow through those arteries. The same thing happens in the carotid arteries. That’s why it’s important to diagnose and treat.”

Narrowing of the carotid artery doesn’t trigger warning symptoms of trouble ahead. It’s when part of the plaque causing the narrowing breaks off, or embolizes, and travels to a smaller blood vessel in the brain that a stroke can occur.

The blockage is an immediate shutoff switch to nerve centers with immediate – and potentially devastating – effects.

Non-Invasive Screenings Detect Carotid Artery Disease

The good news is that carotid artery disease can be picked up through Non-Invasive screenings and it is rarely the first arterial blockage a specialist finds.

When discovered, a plaque can be removed and the carotid artery stented through interventions called endarterectomy and the newer Transcarotid artery revascularization or (TCAR). Deborah marked its 100th TCAR in July and is one of the area’s most experienced in the new procedure.

The risk factors for carotid artery disease are the same as for coronary artery disease:

Carotid Artery Disease Risk Factors

Not all these factors can be controlled, but most can be reduced or managed for better overall heart health, brain health and stroke prevention.