Carotid Artery Disease
Why is the management of asymptomatic carotid disease so controversial - Ross Naylor
image by: Ask Vishal
“Let’s talk about your test results,” my neurologist said.
She looked as if she had good news. Instead, it was shocking.
The carotid artery on the left side of my neck, one of the brain’s two main sources of blood and oxygen, was clogged with fatty plaque, the doctor said. The artery was almost completely blocked.
There must be a mistake, I thought frantically. I exercise and am healthy and young. Actually, I’m 68, but, you know, a young 68. You are in danger of a major stroke, she said, and need an operation. Immediately.
The irony wasn’t lost on me. As a journalist covering the medical field, I have spent years writing about strokes, most of which…
After decades of exercise and healthy eating, a reporter’s blocked artery came as a shock; the debate over testing to prevent debilitating strokes.
As for all artery diseases, there are usually no advanced warning signs for early forms of carotid artery disease. For many individuals, the first obvious sign often is a TIA or mini-stroke.
Carotid artery disease often does not cause symptoms until the blockage or narrowing is severe. One sign may be a bruit (whooshing sound) that your doctor hears when listening to your artery with a stethoscope. Another sign is a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a "mini-stroke." A TIA is like a stroke, but it only lasts a few minutes, and the symptoms usually go away within an hour. Stroke is another sign.
Having carotid artery disease raises your risk of having a stroke. Know the warning signs of a stroke—such as weakness and trouble speaking—and what to do if they occur. Call 9–1–1 as soon as symptoms start (do not drive yourself to the hospital).
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