Diagnosing Carotid Artery Disease in Williamsport, PA
Carotid artery disease, also called carotid artery stenosis, is a narrowing of the main arteries in the neck that supply the brain with blood. There are four carotid arteries, and one pair is the reason a pulse can be felt in your neck. The disease is most commonly related to atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque, a deposit of fatty substances, cholesterol, waste products, and fibrous tissue). Carotid artery disease may lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Men of an older age are at an increased risk for carotid artery disease, as well as those who have a family history of the disease, elevated blood fat level, high blood pressure and diabetes, or smoke cigarettes.
Carotid Artery Disease Symptoms
There may be no symptoms in early stages. A carotid bruit may indicate atherosclerosis in the artery. A bruit is an abnormal sound, which can be heard when using a stethoscope.
You may experience warning symptoms of a stroke called transient ischemic attacks (TIA). Symptoms of a TIA usually last for a few minutes to one hour and include:
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling on one side of the body
- Inability to control the movement of an arm or leg
- Loss of vision in one eye
- Inability to speak clearly
- Trouble swallowing
- Dizziness, confusion, or fainting
These symptoms are not exclusive to carotid artery disease. Consult a cardiology provider at UPMC for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Carotid Artery Disease Causes
Damage to the inner layers of the arteries is the main cause of carotid artery disease. This damage may be caused by the following:
- High blood pressure
- High levels of sugar in the blood caused by diabetes or insulin resistance
- High levels of certain fats and cholesterol in the blood
UPMC offers comprehensive care to treat carotid artery disease in Williamsport, PA, and the surrounding areas.
Carotid Artery Disease Treatment in Williamsport, PA
Specific treatment by a physician may be based on age, symptoms or personal health status. Treatments may include:
- Lifestyle modifications like exercise, nutrition and smoking cessation
- Medications to increase blood flow and lower blood pressure or cholesterol
In people with more than 50% narrowing in the artery, more aggressive treatments may be recommended. Surgical treatment is highly suggested for people with more than 70% blockage.
Surgeries might include:
- Carotid endarterectomy (CEA)
- Carotid artery angioplasty with stenting (CAS)
A vascular surgeon at UPMC can help recommend the right treatment to suit your individual needs and preferences.
At UPMC, our vascular experts specialize in the treatment of carotid artery disease in Williamsport, PA, and the surrounding areas.