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Carotid Artery Disease

Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center

Cardiovascular Disease Specialists & Interventional Cardiologists located in North Houston, Tomball, TX

Your carotid arteries are the primary pathways for oxygen-rich blood to reach your brain. Carotid artery disease causes a buildup of fatty plaque that can increase your risk of stroke. At Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center in Tomball, Texas, Waqar Khan, MD, MPH, FACC, FSCAI, Alexander Trujillo, MD, and Steven Napierkowski, MD, offer expert diagnosis and treatments to remove blockages from your carotid artery. If you’re looking for specialist cardiovascular health care, call Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center, or schedule a consultation online today.

Carotid Artery Disease Q & A

What is carotid artery disease?

Your carotid arteries carry blood to your brain and the rest of your head and neck. Carotid artery disease develops when fatty plaque builds up in these blood vessels. The plaque narrows the space available for blood to flow and can cause blockages, leading to stroke. 

Carotid artery disease doesn’t usually cause symptoms until it impedes your blood flow. Often, a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a mini-stroke, is the first sign of carotid artery disease. TIA symptoms include sudden:

  • Numbness or weakness in your limbs or face
  • Trouble speaking or understanding
  • Vision changes
  • Dizziness or lost balance
  • Severe headache

If you have a personal or family history of cardiovascular disease, you should schedule routine screenings to check for signs of carotid artery disease and other issues before experiencing symptoms. 

What causes carotid artery disease?

While your family medical history influences your risk of carotid artery disease, lifestyle factors significantly affect your chances of developing it. For example, some of the significant factors that contribute to carotid artery disease include:

  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated glucose levels 

Your risk of developing carotid artery disease increases with age. Additionally, if you’re overweight or lead a sedentary lifestyle, you’re more likely to experience cardiovascular health issues like carotid artery disease. 

How is carotid artery disease diagnosed?

Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center provides comprehensive exams to diagnose carotid artery disease. Your physician begins by reviewing your medical history and performing a physical exam. They listen to your carotid arteries for an abnormal sound known as a bruit. 

Your physician might order a variety of diagnostic tests to gather more information about your condition, including:

  • Carotid ultrasounds
  • Carotid angiography
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
  • Computed tomography (CT) angioplasty

These tests allow your physician to examine your carotid arteries and observe any narrowing or blockages. 

How do you treat carotid artery disease?

The physicians at Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center provide personalized treatment plans to address carotid artery disease and reduce the risk of stroke. 

Depending on your needs, your treatment plan could include lifestyle adjustments, such as increased physical activity, healthy eating plans, weight loss, and smoking cessation.

Your physician might also prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure or cholesterol. They might also recommend antiplatelet drugs to prevent blood clots. 

Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center doctors also provide state-of-the-art procedures to remove plaque from and open carotid arteries. The practice is one of only a few in the North Houston area that offers carotid angioplasty and stenting. 

The doctors also offer carotid endarterectomy if your arteries are more than 50% blocked. 

If you’re concerned about carotid artery disease or other cardiovascular health problems, call Lone Star Heart and Vascular Center, or make an appointment online today.