Neuro / Carotid Disorders
Neurological disorders are diseases of the brain, spine and the nerves that connect them. There are more than 600 diseases of the nervous system, such as brain tumors, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and stroke as well as less familiar ones such as frontotemporal dementia.
- Arteriovenous Malformation
- Brain Aneurysm
- Brain Tumors
- Dural Arteriovenous Fistulae
- Memory Disorders
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Post-Herpetic Neuralgia
- Spinal Cord Tumor
- Brain Mapping
- Deep Brain Stimulation
- Gamma Knife
Carotid Artery Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Tests, and Treatment
What Are the Carotid Arteries?
The carotid arteries are two large blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the large, front part of the brain. This is where thinking, speech, personality, and sensory and motor functions reside. You can feel your pulse in the carotid arteries on each side of your neck, right below the angle of the jaw line.
How Does Carotid Artery Disease Happen?
Like the arteries that supply blood to the heart — the coronary arteries — the carotid arteries can also develop atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries” on the inside of the vessels.
Over time, the buildup of fatty substances and cholesterol narrows the carotid arteries. This decreases blood flow to the brain and increases the risk of a stroke.
A stroke — sometimes called a “brain attack” — is similar to a heart attack. It occurs when blood flow is cut off from part of the brain. If the lack of blood flow lasts for more than three to six hours, the damage is usually permanent. A stroke can occur if:
- The artery becomes extremely narrowed
- There’s a rupture in an artery to the brain that has atherosclerosis
- A piece of plaque breaks off and travels to the smaller arteries of the brain
- A blood clot forms and obstructs a blood vessel
Strokes can occur as a result of other conditions besides carotid artery disease. For example, sudden bleeding in the brain, called intracerebral hemorrhage, can cause a stroke. Other possible causes include:
- Sudden bleeding in the spinal fluid space — subarachnoid hemorrhage
- Atrial fibrillation
- High blood pressure
- Blockage of tiny arteries inside the brain
What Are the Risk Factors for Carotid Artery Disease?
The risk factors for carotid artery disease are similar to those for other types of heart disease. They include:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) — the most important treatable risk factor for stroke
- Abnormal lipids or high cholesterol
- Diet high in saturated fats
- Insulin resistance
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family history of atherosclerosis, either coronary artery disease or carotid artery disease
Men younger than age 75 have a greater risk than women in the same age group. Women have a greater risk than men older than age 75. People who have coronary artery disease have an increased risk of developing carotid artery disease. Typically, the carotid arteries become diseased a few years later than the coronary arteries.
For more information contact:
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