Your carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain and head. Narrowing or blockages in these arteries may increase your risk of having a stroke. At Formé Medical Center and Urgent Care in White Plains, New York, the team includes cardiology specialists who diagnose and treat conditions that affect the carotid arteries. Call the office or schedule an appointment online today. Telemedicine appointments are available.
Carotid Arteries Q & A
The carotid arteries are the blood vessels that deliver oxygen-rich blood to the front portion of your brain. That is the area of your brain that manages speech, thinking, personality, and sensory and motor functions.
Any narrowing or blockage in these arteries may affect the blood supply to your brain, leading to a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke.
A TIA causes a temporary decrease in blood flow to your brain.
During a stroke, there’s a blockage in your carotid artery, depriving your brain of oxygen-rich blood. Without an adequate supply of blood, brain cells die.
A stroke is a medical emergency. If you suspect you or someone you love is having a stroke, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
You may not know you have any problems with your carotid arteries until you have a TIA or stroke.
The blockages in the carotid arteries that cause TIAs and strokes develop from a buildup of plaque along the blood vessel wall. That condition is known as atherosclerosis.
When you have narrowing or blockages in your carotid arteries, you have carotid artery disease. Factors that increase your risk of carotid artery disease include:
- History of high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol
- Family history of carotid artery disease
- Sleep apnea
- Use of tobacco
- Lack of physical activity
Your arteries also get less flexible as you get older, increasing your risk of carotid artery problems.
If you have risk factors for carotid artery disease, your provider at Formé Medical Center and Urgent Care may use a stethoscope to listen to the flow of blood through your carotid arteries during your annual physical exam.
If they hear an abnormal rushing sound, they may refer you to the cardiology experts at the practice who may request additional testing, such as a carotid duplex ultrasound.
During that noninvasive imaging test, your provider uses sound wave technology to look for signs of narrowing in your carotid arteries.
Treatment for your carotid arteries depends on the severity of your narrowing. Your treatment plan may include:
- Following a heart-healthy diet
- Getting regular exercise
- Smoking cessation
- Taking medication to control blood pressure or lower high cholesterol
- Weight loss
- Regular check-ups to monitor heart health
- Anti-platelet medication
If you have severe narrowing in your carotid arteries, your provider may refer you to a cardiovascular surgeon.
Find out more about the health of your carotid arteries by calling Formé Medical Center and Urgent Care or booking an appointment online today.