Carotid Artery Disease Specialist

University Vascular

Board Certified Vascular Surgeons located in Watkinsville, GA & Gainesville, GA

Carotid artery disease can reduce or block blood flow to your brain, resulting in a stroke. If you're at risk of carotid artery disease, the board-certified vascular surgeons of University Vascular offer expert screening services. At locations in Watkinsville and Gainesville, Georgia, they also treat carotid artery disease using advanced techniques like angioplasty and stenting. For a prompt, accurate diagnosis and timely treatment, call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.

Carotid Artery Disease Q & A

What is carotid artery disease?

Carotid arteries are the large blood vessels that deliver freshly oxygen-enriched blood to your head. Carotid artery disease develops when the arteries narrow or get blocked by deposits of a sticky substance called plaque.

Plaque consists of cholesterol and other waste materials in your blood that clump together and attach itself to the walls of your blood vessels. Plaque is responsible for many vascular diseases and is a leading cause of potentially life-threatening heart attacks and strokes.

Because the carotid arteries feed your brain, stroke is the major risk of having carotid artery disease. Stroke is a significant cause of permanent disability in the United States and the primary cause of death.

What symptoms does carotid artery disease cause?

When it's developing, carotid artery disease generally causes no noticeable symptoms. This means you could have it without knowing you're at risk.

Sometimes, people with carotid artery disease experience a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke. A TIA has a similar effect to a stroke, but the reduction in blood flow only lasts a short time and symptoms are less severe. If you have a TIA, you’re at risk of having a stroke.

Stroke and TIA symptoms include:

  • Difficulty talking
  • Problems understanding other people
  • Dimming vision
  • Feeling dizzy or off-balance
  • A sudden, severe headache

One of the key symptoms of stroke is losing feeling and experiencing weakness that affects your arm and face on one side. 

TIA and stroke are emergencies requiring immediate medical attention.

How is carotid artery disease diagnosed?

Diagnostic tests for carotid artery disease include vascular ultrasound, CT scans, an MRI, and angiography. One of the telltale signs of carotid artery disease is a whooshing noise in the artery.

What treatments are there for carotid artery disease?

Stopping further buildup of the plaque that causes carotid artery disease is an essential part of your treatment plan at University Vascular. Lifestyle changes you may need to make could include:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Losing weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Reducing salt intake

After assessing your arteries, University Vascular might recommend that you undergo a procedure to widen the narrowing blood vessels. 

Options include carotid angioplasty and stenting (opening the artery by flattening the plaque) or carotid endarterectomy (surgical removal of the plaque).

To arrange a carotid artery assessment or discuss any concerns relating to carotid artery disease, call University Vascular or book an appointment online today.