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Carotid Artery Stenosis - A Brief Overview

Carotid artery stenosis is an ailment which is characterized by the narrowing of the lumen of the carotid artery. This is usually caused by atheroma which tends to block the blood supply to the brain and can cause transient ischemic attacks and cerebrovascular disease. Carotid artery stenosis can also lead to blood clotting which further hinders the free circulation of blood and leads to the blockage in the cerebral arteries. In simple terms, carotid artery stenosis is caused when the carotid arteries are narrowed down and cause constriction in the blood supply.

The carotid arteries are the arteries in the neck. These arteries are responsible for supplying blood to the brain. Carotid artery stenosis is a disease of the artery. The narrowing of the artery may result into insufficient supply of the blood to the brain. This situation can become chronic in nature. It may result in brain stroke. Strokes are caused when the blood clots result in stoppage of blood supply. This narrowing of the arteries is generally caused by the plague in the blood vessels. Plague is formed on account of the accumulation of fats, lipids, cholesterol and other substances on the walls of the arteries.
This condition is termed as atherosclerosis.

Symptoms of carotid artery stenosis:
In most of the cases, people show no symptoms at all. At times, some of the patients may hear a swishing noise in their ear with each heartbeat. This sound is produced when the blood flows from a blockage in the carotid artery. In severe cases, there are symptoms of blindness, paralysis, or numbness. These symptoms indicate that a stroke may be imminent. The symptoms also include speech problems, blurring of vision, and paralysis in an arm or leg. At times, these symptoms can also become permanent.

Who suffers from carotid artery stenosis?
Usually, carotid artery stenosis increases with the increase in blood pressure. People suffering from high blood pressure have the risk of developing this disease. People with high cholesterol and high tress levels are also prone to be afflicted by  this disease. People with diabetes mellitus, obesity can also show certain symptoms of this disease. Besides this, cigarette smoking and lack of physical activity can also cause carotid artery stenosis.

Diagnose of this disease:
A routine physical examination is sufficient to detect carotid artery stenosis. Your physician will be able to hear the sound that is produced when the blood passes the clots in the artery.  Ultrasound tests can also help in imaging of the blockage. The images help in  determining the amount of blood flowing from the artery. Another effective diagnose for detecting this disease is the Cerebral arteriogram. In this test, a dye is injected into your artery. An X-ray report helps you find out the dimensions and extent of the blockage. This is revealed by the path that the dye takes. These tests can easily determine the presence of the carotid artery stenosis.

To avoid suffering from this disease, you must contact your physician and obtain proper advice on management and treatment of this condition.