Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery disease is a common problem and a major cause of stroke. Patients are at increased risk for developing carotid artery disease and stroke if they already have coronary artery atherosclerotic heart disease or have a family history of heart disease or stroke. Carotid artery disease is caused by the same factors that contribute to coronary artery atherosclerotic heart disease, but tends to develop later in life. Fewer than 1 percent of adults in their 50s have significant narrowing of their carotid arteries. But 10 percent of adults in their 80s have extensive narrowing.
Atherosclerosis cannot be prevented altogether, but progression of the disease can be slowed and the risk of developing atherosclerosis can be reduced through changes in lifestyle and diet. The best preventive measures are exercising regularly, eating a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and maintaining a healthy weight. A class of drugs called statins can reduce the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream and may limit the growth of plaque.
- Carotid Endarterectomy (open surgery)
- Carotid Stenting (minimally invasive)