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Raising Awareness on World Stroke Day: Carotid Artery Disease, the Silent Threat

Every year in the United States, over 800,000 individuals experience a potentially life-threatening stroke. Carotid artery disease is a significant cause of many of these strokes and often lurks unnoticed until it reaches an advanced stage. In the spirit of World Stroke Day, it is vital to shed light on this condition and learn about its risks, symptoms, and preventive measures.

Carotid artery disease, or carotid artery stenosis, occurs when the carotid arteries supplying blood to the brain, narrow or become blocked due to the accumulation of plaque. This plaque build-up restricts blood flow to the brain, elevating the risk of a stroke, a global leader in causing disability and fatalities. Due to this, early detection and management of carotid artery disease are of great importance.

While carotid artery disease may not have symptoms in its initial stages, individuals should remain vigilant for warning signs that could foretell an impending stroke. These signs may include:

·         Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the face or body

·         Difficulty speaking or understanding speech

·         Loss of coordination or balance

·         Sudden severe headaches with no apparent cause

·         Blurred vision or abrupt loss of vision in one or both eyes

Early detection plays a pivotal role in preventing the progression of carotid artery disease. Depending on the disease’s severity, treatment options may include medication, lifestyle adjustments, or surgical intervention.

There are a variety of surgical options available, such as the more invasive open surgery called Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA) as well as stenting options such as Transfemoral Carotid Artery Stenting (TF-CAS) and TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR).  The type of specialist a person is referred to may also impact what surgical treatment options are available to them. Many vascular surgeons are able to perform all treatment options. If having access to multiple treatment options is important, an individual will want to let their referring physician know their preference.

TCAR is a minimally invasive procedure designed to restore blood flow while minimizing the risk of a stroke. This innovative approach promises swifter recovery times and fewer complications in comparison to traditional surgeries like carotid endarterectomy.

People need to take a proactive stance against the silent threat of carotid artery disease. Individuals should arm themselves with knowledge about the disease, learn about screening and view resources by visiting:

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