Affiliated Cardiologists of Arizona
General Cardiology & Vascular Medicine located in Phoenix, Goodyear, Chandler, & Maricopa, AZ
Carotid artery disease is a serious condition that increases your risk of having a stroke. At Affiliated Cardiologists of Arizona, with offices in Phoenix, Maricopa, Goodyear, and Chandler, Arizona, the team specializes in diagnosing and treating carotid artery disease to reduce your risk of developing health-related complications. For expert care from a highly skilled cardiology team, call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.
Carotid Artery Disease
What is carotid artery disease?
Carotid artery disease occurs when fatty deposits (plaque) build up along the wall of your carotid arteries, narrowing the passageway and reducing blood flow. Your carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain.
When you have narrowing in these arteries, your brain may not get an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood. Additionally, the plaque along the vessel wall may increase your risk of developing a blood clot that blocks blood flow, leading to a stroke.
You may be at risk of developing carotid artery disease if you have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Smoking, lack of physical activity, and poor diet habits may also play a role in developing severe cardiovascular conditions.
What are the symptoms of carotid artery disease?
Carotid artery disease develops slowly over time. You may not have any symptoms until you have a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a temporary decrease in blood flow to your brain.
Symptoms indicating you may be having a stroke or TIA include:
- Unexpected numbness or weakness in your face or limbs
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulting seeing
- Severe head pain
Strokes and TIAs are medical emergencies. If you or someone you love has these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
How is carotid artery disease diagnosed?
At Affiliated Cardiologists of Arizona, the team performs a carotid ultrasound to diagnose carotid artery disease. During the non-invasive test, they use ultrasound technology to assess blood flow through your carotid arteries.
Before conducting the ultrasound, your cardiologist reviews your medical history, family history, and performs a physical. They also run lab work to check your blood cholesterol levels.
How is carotid artery disease treated?
The experts at Affiliated Cardiologists of Arizona take a comprehensive and preventive approach to heart health. For carotid artery disease, the team focuses on treatments that prevent further build-up of plaque and reduce your risk of having a stroke.
Treatment may include:
- Heart-healthy diet
- Exercise program
- Medication to improve blood pressure
- Medication to lower cholesterol
- Smoking cessation
For severe blockage in the arteries, the team performs carotid stenting. During the minimally invasive procedure, your cardiologist inserts a balloon into the artery and inflates it, compressing the plaque and widening the passageway.
They remove the balloon and place a stent to keep the passageway open and support the artery wall.
If you have concerns about carotid artery disease, the team at Affiliated Cardiologists of Arizona can help. Call the office nearest you or book a consultation online today.