Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is a surgical procedure that is used to treat carotid artery disease. The carotid arteries are the two main blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. When these arteries become narrow or blocked, it can lead to a stroke or other serious health problems. CEA is designed to remove the buildup of plaque and restore blood flow to the brain.
Symptoms of carotid artery disease may include weakness or numbness on one side of the face or body, difficulty speaking or understanding speech, sudden and severe headache, and vision problems. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.
Causes of Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on the inner walls of the carotid arteries. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances that can accumulate over time. When plaque builds up, it can cause the arteries to narrow or become blocked. This can lead to a stroke or other serious health problems.
Risk Factors for Carotid Artery Disease
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing carotid artery disease. These include:
High blood pressure
Family history of heart disease or stroke
Age (over 55 years old for men and over 65 years old for women)
Obesity or being overweight
Diagnosis of Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery disease can be diagnosed through a variety of tests. These may include:
Your doctor may also ask you questions about your medical history and perform other tests to help determine your risk of developing carotid artery disease.
Treatment of Carotid Artery Disease
There are several treatment options available for carotid artery disease, including medications and surgery. Your treatment plan will depend on the severity of your condition, your overall health, and other factors.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help manage your symptoms and reduce your risk of stroke. These may include:
Blood pressure medications
If your condition is severe or if you have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), your doctor may recommend carotid endarterectomy (CEA). During this procedure, a surgeon will make an incision in your neck and remove the plaque buildup from the carotid artery.
Recovery from CEA may take several weeks or months. Your doctor will provide you with detailed instructions on how to care for your incision and manage your pain.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend carotid artery stenting as an alternative to CEA. This procedure involves inserting a small, metal mesh tube into the artery to hold it open and improve blood flow.
Prevention of Carotid Artery Disease
You can take several steps to reduce your risk of developing carotid artery disease. These may include:
Managing high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes
Eating a healthy diet
Maintaining a healthy weight
Getting regular check-ups with your doctor
If you have any concerns about your risk of developing carotid artery disease, speak with your doctor. They can help you understand your risk factors and develop a plan to help you stay healthy.