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Strokes and Carotid Artery Disease in Dallas, TX

Vanguard Vascular & Vein treats strokes and carotid artery disease for the residents of Garland, Rowlett, and the Greater Dallas area.

Carotid artery disease is a medical condition that describes a blockage in the main arteries of the neck, known as “carotid arteries.” These arteries provide blood to your brain. As plaque builds up in these arteries, the blood flow to your brain slows and, in the most severe cases, blood flow stops completely.

Reports from the Vascular Disease Foundation indicate that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, as well as the leading cause of disability among adults. When blockages in the carotid arteries slow and stop the flow of blood to your brain, you are at greater risk for a stroke. Without adequate blood flow, parts of your brain begin to die, and you lose the ability to perform many of your normal daily functions. Strokes are medical emergencies that can be fatal.

Am I at Risk for Strokes and Carotid Artery Disease?

Understanding the risk factors for strokes and carotid artery disease helps you recognize the early signs of the conditions. The risk factors for strokes include the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Age 65 or older
  • African American or Hispanic
  • High cholesterol
  • Gender, as men are more likely to suffer strokes, and women are more likely to experience fatal strokes
  • Family history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Prior strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Certain heart conditions
  • Medications that increase the likelihood of developing blood clots, such as birth control
  • Pregnancy, including the weeks immediately following pregnancy
  • Little to no physical activity
  • Illicit drug use
  • Trauma or injury to the head or brain
  • Blood clotting and bleeding disorders

The risk factors for carotid artery disease include the following:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol, particularly high LDL and high triglycerides
  • Physical inactivity
  • Although rare, carotid aneurysm disease and fibromascular dysplasia

What Are the Symptoms of Strokes and Carotid Artery Disease?

Symptoms of strokes come on suddenly and include the following:

  • Numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement, especially on one side of your body
  • Vision changes
  • Trouble speaking
  • Confusion or trouble understanding easy statements
  • Problems walking or with balance
  • Severe headache this is different from past headaches

You may never experience symptoms of carotid artery disease until the condition is in the later stages when you develop the warning signs of a stroke. Some patients experience transient ischemia attacks, also known as TIA or a mini-stroke. Your symptoms may last for only a few minutes or up to an hour. If the symptoms last for 24 hours or more, you likely experienced a stroke.

TIAs and strokes are medical emergencies. If you or someone you know has experienced these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

How Does the Vanguard Way Help Me with Strokes and Carotid Artery Disease?

Diagnosing and treating strokes and carotid artery disease begin with a thorough medical examination, including your family medical history. Your physician checks the blood pressure and blood flow of your carotid arteries. Most cases of carotid artery disease are detected by a carotid duplex ultrasound.  Our doctors will move a small device over your carotid arteries during the test.  Sound waves that are transmitted from the device produce a picture of your carotid arteries.  Supplementary tests may be required if the carotid duplex ultrasound does not provide sufficient information.

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) produces comprehensive views of the blood vessels.  Computed tomography (CT) and computed tomography angiography (CTA) are used to produce images in multiple sections. These images are then placed together to form a complete picture of your brain or arteries.  These tests are ultimately used to pinpoint areas of poor blood circulation and arterial narrowing.  A dye and X-ray are used to display a picture of the blood vessels with an angiography.

Carotid artery stenting is a preventative option for select people. During surgery, a stent, a small metal tube, is placed in the carotid artery. The stent allows for increased blood flow in areas that may be blocked by plaque. In some cases, the stent may be coated with a medication that helps to reduce further blockage.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment with one of our vascular surgeons in our Garland or Rowlett, Texas office, call Vanguard Vascular & Vein at (972) 487-1818.

Vanguard Vascular & Vein is a leading vascular care provider serving Garland, Rowlett, and the Greater Dallas area. Our patients rely on us for individualized care and a holistic approach that addresses all of their vascular care needs. We are the first practice in the area, and one of only five in the country, to receive Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) accreditation. The accreditation assures our patients that the care they receive meets the highest professional standards for vascular ultrasound interpretation. To learn more about the Vanguard Way, please visit our About Us page.

Written by Vanguard Vein and Vascular 11:12 am