Infographic: Asymptomatic Carotid Disease

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Clearing the Way for Healthy Brain Function.

Reducing the risk of stroke when an artery narrows.

Asymptomatic carotid stenosis (ACS): A blockage that hinders blood flow in one of the major arteries to the brain.

A long time coming: The blockage is a deposit of plaque, which can take 5-10 years or more to build up. However it can progress much more quickly, sometimes over months.

Researchers are exploring how new and improved treatment options should be used to reduce the risk of stroke.

Risk factors for ACS include:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • History of vascular disease

Left undiagnosed, life-threatening conditions may develop:

  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA): A temporary shortage of blood to the brain lasting a few minutes to hours. This may result in sudden weakness or numbness (or loss of touch) in the face, arm and/or leg, sometimes in combination; sudden difficulty seeing, speaking or understanding others; sudden double vision, or sudden unsteadiness.
  • Stroke: A severe shortage of oxygen-carrying blood to part of the brain. Brain cells begin dying within minutes.

Reduce your risk of carotid artery narrowing and stroke.

These may reduce the risk of stroke and offer an improved quality of life.

Lifestyle changes and medication

Quit smoking

Weight loss

Healthier and/or low-sodium diet

Daily aspirin

Exercise

Blood pressure and cholesterol medication

Surgical or angioplasty/stenting options

Remove the plaque directly in a carotid endarterectomy.

  • The affected artery is opened directly.
  • The plaque buildup is removed.
  • The artery is closed.
  • This is the most common surgical treatment.

Move the blockage out of the way with angioplasty and stenting.

  • A catheter with a balloon is passed to the blockage.
  • The balloon is expanded and widens the passage.
  • Wire mesh stent is placed to hold the artery open.
  • This is an option when surgery is risky or difficult.

Source: MayoClinic.org

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