Carotid disease is a common health problem that occurs when some of your arteries become damaged. If you have this vascular condition, you will have a higher chance of experiencing strokes and other complications. At R Shaheen Vascular in Mountain View, CA, we can use a variety of gentle methods to diagnose and treat this medical problem.
What Are the Warning Signs of Carotid Disease?
Your carotid arteries are vessels that send blood to your head and brain. If these arteries become weaker, you might develop carotid disease. This vascular issue is also known as carotid artery disease, or CAD. This health issue can cause you to have a stroke, experience a transient ischemic attack, or have other medical issues. There are a number of warning signs that may indicate that you have this vascular problem.
Developing Chest Pain
Sometimes, this health condition can cause you to experience chest pain. Scientists call this condition angina.
Experiencing a Stroke or TIA
You might not experience any symptoms during the early stages of this vascular problem. If you do not develop early symptoms, you might be diagnosed with this vascular issue after you experience a stroke or have a transient ischemic attack, also known as TIA. During a stroke or TIA, you might feel confused and dizzy. A stroke can also cause you to develop a very strong headache.
In addition, you may have difficulty keeping your balance, become unable to talk, and struggle to understand what people are saying to you. Further, you could experience paralysis that only impacts one side of your face. You should receive emergency medical treatment if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Receiving prompt treatment can lower your risk of developing memory problems and other complications.
How Does This Vascular Problem Develop?
This vascular problem develops when a fatty material called plaque builds up in your carotid arteries. This development is known as atherosclerosis. As plaque collects in your arteries, these vessels will become narrower.
This development will enhance your chance of having a stroke. Some of the plaque in your carotid arteries could enter the blood vessels that are located in your brain. This plaque can become lodged in one of these arteries and stop this vessel from sending blood to a specific area of your brain. Similarly, the plaque in your carotid arteries can cause you to develop clots that disrupt your blood flow.
How Can I Diagnose This Vascular Condition?
At R Shaheen Vascular, we can use a variety of gentle techniques to diagnose carotid disease and other vascular problems. We may begin your appointment by reviewing your medical history. At this point, you should tell us if you have had strokes or TIAs in the past. You should also let us know if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other medical conditions. After we talk about your health, we may conduct a physical examination.
During this portion of your appointment, we may use a medical instrument called a stethoscope to examine your neck. If you have CAD, we may hear a swooshing noise when we listen to the arteries in this location. This noise may indicate that one of the arteries in your neck has become narrower. Depending on the results of this examination, we may advise you to get an MRI, CT angiography, or other diagnostic procedure.
Who Is Likely To Develop This Type of Health Problem?
Although anyone can be diagnosed with CAD, there are a number of lifestyle decisions and other risk factors that can heighten your chance of experiencing this vascular issue. Knowing the risks associated with CAD can help in form you to make healthier choices for your life.
Your Exercise Habits
If you do not exercise regularly, you will be more likely to have diabetes, develop high blood pressure, and become obese. All of these health problems can weaken your blood vessels and increase your chance of experiencing CAD.
Your Family Background
Like many other illnesses, CAD often runs in families. If your parents, grandparents, or other close relatives experienced this problem or coronary artery disease, you will be more likely to develop similar health issues.
Your Use of Tobacco Products
When you smoke cigarettes or use other products that contain nicotine, the linings in the inside of your arteries can become irritated. In addition, smoking cigarettes can increase your blood pressure. These changes can heighten your risk of experiencing CAD in the future.
As you get older, you will experience natural changes that will heighten your chance of developing CAD. In particular, your arteries will lose flexibility and become more vulnerable to damage.
What Type of Stroke Could I Have?
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when one of the blood vessels in your brain bursts or starts leaking blood. This development can cause you to develop a severe headache.
This type of stroke occurs when the tissues in your brain do not receive a sufficient amount of blood. Your decreased blood flow can cause you to feel confused, lose your balance, or experience other symptoms.
If you have a mini-stroke, the blood flow to your brain will be disrupted for a short period of time. This medical problem is also called a transient ischemic attack. This type of stroke may cause you to experience symptoms that last for less than 24 hours. If you experience a mini-stroke, you will be more likely to have a major stroke in the future.
What Techniques Are Used To Treat a Stroke?
If you have a stroke, healthcare professionals may give you medications, perform procedures, or use other techniques to treat this medical condition.
Treating an Ischemic Stroke
If you have an ischemic stroke, emergency healthcare providers may use medications to treat your blood flow issues. For example, you might need to take aspirin or receive an injection of a medication called recombinant tissue plasminogen activator. In addition, your healthcare provider may remove blood clots with a specialized device or use an advanced technique to send the medication directly into your brain.
After these treatments are complete, you may be advised to improve your health by getting a medical procedure. In particular, you might need to receive a stent, angioplasty, or carotid endarterectomy.
Addressing a Hemorrhagic Stroke
Healthcare professionals can treat a hemorrhagic stroke by using specialized techniques to decrease the amount of pressure in your brain and manage your bleeding issues. In addition, they may perform treatments that can decrease your blood pressure and stop you from having a seizure.
If you experience a hemorrhagic stroke that was connected to a vascular malformation or an aneurysm, you might need to improve your health by getting a medical procedure. In particular, you might be required to have an intracranial bypass or an endovascular embolization.
Can I Improve My Health by Receiving an Arterial Endarterectomy?
If your carotid arteries are very narrow, we may advise you to receive a medical procedure called an arterial endarterectomy. During this procedure, we can eliminate plaque in your artery and improve the condition of your blood flow.
Beginning Your Procedure
We will begin by providing you with medication that will help you relax as we address your vascular problems. For example, you might receive general anesthesia that will allow you to sleep during your entire procedure.
Improving Your Artery
After you are ready, we will create a tiny incision in your neck. This incision will allow us to reach your damaged artery. After we access this artery, we will carefully remove the deposits of plaque that have caused this blood vessel to become narrow.
After we take out your plaque, we may use stitches to repair your blood vessel. Alternatively, we might give you a patch that is made of a special type of artificial material. Receiving a patch can stop your artery from becoming narrow in the future.
Completing Your Procedure
Once we have finished improving your artery, we will reattach this blood vessel and close your incision. This medical procedure will usually take up to two hours to finish, and this gentle process can lower your chance of developing strokes and brain damage in the future. Under most circumstances, you need to spend a short time resting in the hospital. In general, you will be able to return to your home within about 24 hours.
Can I Use Medical Treatments To Improve My Other Vascular Issues?
In addition to treating CAD, we can address a wide variety of other vascular problems at R Shaheen Vascular.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease occurs when the blood vessels in your arms, legs, or other extremities become blocked or narrowed. This health problem will prevent a sufficient amount of blood from reaching your limbs. If you have peripheral artery disease, you may experience uncomfortable cramps when you go on walks. In addition, you might feel numb sensations in your legs.
Since this health problem will increase your risk of having a stroke or other complications, you should receive prompt treatment for your symptoms. We may advise you to enhance your health by taking medication or making changes to your lifestyle. If you have severe health issues, we may improve the condition of your arteries during a medical procedure. For example, we may advise you to receive a bypass or angioplasty.
If you have varicose veins, you may develop swollen and twisted blood vessels in your legs. These weakened vessels can cause you to experience cramps in this location. In addition, you might develop swelling issues and feel itchy sensations. We may instruct you to improve your varicose veins by wearing compression stockings. These comfortable stockings may decrease your swelling problems and improve your other symptoms.
In addition, we can use laser energy to improve smaller varicose veins. If you have more severe vein issues, we may use radiofrequency energy to seal up your weakened veins. This process is known as radiofrequency ablation. Alternatively, we may fix your vascular problem by injecting a gentle chemical into your varicose veins. This chemical solution can close these veins and cause them to fade away.
Enhance Your Health
If you have carotid disease, you will have a significantly higher risk of having a stroke or experiencing other medical problems. Receiving an arterial endarterectomy or other medical treatment can be a good way to improve the condition of your arteries and reduce your chance of developing vascular issues in the future. To schedule a consultation about this medical issue, you should contact us at R Shaheen Vascular in Mountain View, CA.