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Carotid artery disease (CAD) is a circulatory problem in which your carotid arteries are narrowed or completely blocked. Carotid arteries, the two large blood vessels located on each side of your neck, are responsible for supplying oxygenated blood to the frontal lobe of the brain. These blockages are caused by atherosclerosis, which is a buildup of plaque within the walls of the arteries in our body.

Symptoms of CAD

When a person develops carotid artery disease, the blood flow to the brain is slowed, increasing your risk of a stroke. You may have CAD and not know it – as with many conditions, sometimes there are no symptoms. But if CAD results in a stroke, you may notice the sudden onset of the following issues:

  • Severe headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Numbness, tingling or weakness on one side (including face, body or extremities)
  • Blurred vision in one or both eyes, loss of vision
  • Difficulty with motor skills – loss of balance or coordination, trouble walking

Because strokes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., the above symptoms are serious indications of a life-threatening problem, and should always be taken seriously.

Risk Factors for CAD

You may be more likely to develop CAD if you have a family history of atherosclerosis or a history of coronary artery disease. In addition, men under the age of 75 and women older than 75 are at a greater risk for CAD. However, there are other risk factors besides age. Since CAD is caused by atherosclerosis, the best way to avoid both is through maintaining a healthy lifestyle. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes are all causes of atherosclerosis and CAD, so by exercising and eating better, you can help reduce or eliminate most of those risk factors.

Treating CAD

Clearing the path for blood flow can be done through a Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA). CEA is the surgical removal of the plaque buildup in the carotid arteries, and has long been proven to be the optimal treatment for this condition. At Southern Vascular Clinic, Dr. Ghanami is highly experienced in performing these types of procedures to help improve blood flow to the brain and prevent further disease manifestations.

CAD is a condition that if left untreated, can lead to serious health conditions. Even if you don’t show any signs of carotid artery disease, you should come in for a complimentary screening with Dr. Ghanami. Call Southern Vascular Clinic today at 337-534-4444 to schedule an appointment.