Carotid Artery Disease
The aorta is the largest blood vessel in your body. The aorta carries all the blood that is pumped out of your heart and branches progressively to distribute blood to all of the organs and throughout the body. The carotid arteries branch off the aorta and deliver blood to your head and brain. Coronary arteries branch from the aorta, which supply the heart with oxygen, blood, and nutrients to keep it healthy.
A carotid duplex ultrasound can detect most cases of carotid artery disease. To conduct the test, your doctor will simply move a small device over your carotid arteries. The device transmits sound waves that compose an image of your carotid arteries. If the carotid duplex ultrasound does not provide enough information, additional tests may be performed.
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) produces extremely detailed views of the blood vessels. Computed tomography (CT) and computed tomography angiography (CTA) produce images in sections that make up a whole picture of your brain or arteries. These tests are used to identify areas of poor blood flow and arterial narrowing. A dye and X-ray are used to show an image of the blood vessels with an angiography.
Am I at Risk
Risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing carotid artery disease, although some people that develop the condition do not have any risk factors.
Risk factors for carotid artery disease:
_____ Advancing age
_____ Family history
_____ Cigarette smoking
_____ High blood pressure
_____ High cholesterol, particularly high LDL, and high triglycerides
_____ People that are physically inactive
_____ In rare cases, carotid aneurysm disease and fibromuscular dysplasia
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The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.