Carotid Artery Stroke Treatments

Neurologists may employ carotid artery stroke treatments to dissolve dangerous clots, widen arteries, or remove plaque to improve blood flow. Nearly 700,000 people suffer attacks annually in the United States. A stroke occurs when the carotid arteries, which run the length of the base of the neck to the brain, are clogged due to a blood clot or plaque, which narrow the openings and restrict the flow of blood. Strokes occur as a result of a lack of blood to the brain or blood clots. Immediate symptoms may include slurred speech, impaired vision and motor skills, weakness on one side of the body, or a "lazy" tongue. Doctors recommend emergency carotid artery stroke treatments within the first three hours of detecting symptoms, or patients may suffer hemorrhages of the brain or become paralyzed or disabled. Certain portions of the brain control motor functions, speech, vision, and sensation; and damage to sensitive nerves can be permanent without emergency medical intervention. "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;" (Hebrews 3:13-14).

In an emergency situation, time is of the essence to get the patient stabilized and to prevent further damage to vital organs. After confirming a diagnosis of an ischemic attack or hemorrhage, emergency technicians will conduct preliminary carotid artery stroke treatments, including pinpointing the type and location of blood clots or internal cranial bleeding. If the patient is conscious, technicians will take blood pressure, check the eyes and heart, and assess the presence of atherosclerosis, also known as "hardening of the arteries." A CAT scan or MRI will reveal damage to arteries and the brain, and confirm the incidence of an attack. Emergency room or ambulance personnel will also test the patient's motor skills, ability to verbally respond, rate of pulse, and mental acuity.

Emergency carotid artery stroke treatments depend largely on the type of episode the patient has suffered. An ischemic attack occurs when blood clots have traveled to the brain. In the case of a hemorrhagic stroke, arteries or aneurysms have ruptured. If doctors suspect an ischemic attack, aspirin will be administered immediately. Large blood clots can be removed surgically and doctors will prescribe blood thinners to keep platelets from sticking together to form new blockages. Clots may be present in more than one area of the carotid artery or brain; but a CT scan will help pinpoint locations. A carotid endarterectomy removes plaque from the arteries along either side of the neck to the brain; while an angioplasty actually stretches the carotid to allow more blood to flow to the brain. Surgeons may place a stent inside the artery with a catheter to open the passageway and restore blood flow. A stent is a narrow collapsible device which opens to stretch or support weakened arterial walls. The procedure is similar to those performed on cardiac patients.

The objective of carotid artery stroke treatments in the first three hours after detecting symptoms will be to restore blood flow to the brain. If an artery or aneurysm has ruptured, surgeons will also attempt to stop the bleeding to avoid brain cell loss or damage. Prolonged internal bleeding can also cause further damage to vital organs and reduce the patient's chances of recovery. Emergency carotid artery stroke treatment will involve locating and repairing arteries or removing or clipping aneurysms, depending on their size and location. Aneurysms result when arterial walls are thinned or weakened, causing a balloon which fills with blood. Treatments are designed to help prevent future episodes in high-risk patients. Removing plaque, dissolving blood clots, or widening arteries are measures neurologists take immediately after an attack.

As part of recovery, carotid artery stroke treatments include adapting a diet and certain lifelong lifestyle habits which reduce the patient's risk of having a re-occurrence. Walking at least fifteen minutes per day increases circulation and helps to restore motor skills lost during an episode. Patients may be prescribed individual exercise plans, which include low-impact aerobics, cycling, or water aerobics to strengthen weak muscles. Mind/body therapies may include journaling, painting, or prayer to reduce stress and help patients cope with emotional issues. Diet changes include eliminating high-fat, high-cholesterol foods which clog arteries and add pounds. Diets rich in whole grains, fresh fruit, a limited amount of lean meats, and baked or broiled fish also contribute to better health. After surgery, patients on blood thinners, such as coumadin, should avoid eating leafy green vegetables which counteract the clotting properties of the drug, and be careful about getting cuts and lacerations, which might bleed more freely.

Emergency carotid artery stroke treatments are effective within the first three hours of detection. People over the age of 50 who are sedentary or have a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease are prone to have an ischemic attack. Individuals that display symptoms should get medical assistance as soon as possible. Waiting to see if symptoms subside is like playing Russian roulette; and the longer patients go without treatment, the more damage can be caused by clots or cranial hemorrhaging. Call 9-1-1 if individuals appear to be disoriented, if one side of the face drops, or if the speech is noticeably slurred. Ask the patient to try to raise both arms. If one side appears to be weaker than the other, or if the individual cannot repeat a sentence clearly, chances are that they have suffered an episode. After emergency medical personnel have been alerted, the patient should be kept warm and quiet. With prompt medical care and the implementation of effective carotid artery stroke treatments, patients should recover and regain normal motor and ambulatory skills.

Carotid Artery Surgery Risks

Carotid artery surgery risks are real concerns to anyone going in for surgery, especially if further health concerns need to be considered as well. These risks include reaction to anesthetic, trouble breathing, bleeding, and infection. This type of procedure is performed when a build-up of fat and cholesterol has blocked an artery causing early heart attack symptoms including unexplained headache, numbness in a limb, dizziness, and memory loss. Though these symptoms go away, they all lead up to a major event in the future, which may or may not debilitate or kill a person. Carotid artery blockage occurs when certain foods are consumed over a long period of time or family history creates an environment for increase buildup.

Build-up can happen over a long period of time starting with a small clot unnoticeable during daily life, but over time more build-up will slowly occur creating a platform for cardiac arrest. Decreased mental capacity over time or in short abrupt periods of time may indicate a mini stroke and thus lead to speaking with a cardiologist about the risk of further cardiac problems. Clearing up carotid artery blockage before detrimental problems occur will ensure greater success in the avoidance of future problems. Stress testing is available in order to indicate if and where a problem exists to ensure the best possible correction to a problem. Carotid artery blockage is a very serious matter that is reversible if caught early. Once scar tissue (the death of tissue) has occurred, the damage is irreversible, but efforts can be taken in order to minimize future events. However drastic a life change needs to be in order to minimize weakened health it is most likely a better choice than not doing anything at all. Simple changes in diet and exercise create a good starting point for continued wellness.

If a person does not currently exercise, then slowly changing habits such as picking up the mail on foot rather than in the car may be a good place to start. Take the stairs at work at least for the last couple of floors, walk to the grocery store if possible, walk the dog more often, or walk around the block every night after dinner. Some people sleep better when some level of exercise is endured before sleep, digestion occurs much easier during and after exercise, and this may be the perfect time to de-stress from the day. Someone who has a genetic disposition may have to work harder in order to obtain significant benefits from exercise, though increased activity may actually hurt someone with genetic dispositions. It is all a matter of balance. The risks of exercise should be compared with the carotid artery surgery risks. The ultimate decision may be to undergo the surgery with a detailed plan for exercise and diet change to follow.

A change in food consumption is a simple, but not easy way to obtain better health. It is easy to say don't eat this and add this to your diet, but the reality is that changing any sort of habit takes extreme discipline and focus in order to succeed. Focusing on the alternative of heart attack or carotid artery surgery risks may help motivate a person toward their goal. Working with a professional or at least a friend going through the same struggles is crucial to success. Most likely a long time has passed that poor eating and exercise habits have been part of daily life, therefore the change may be harder than it looks. Humans are creatures of habit and to change those habits can be devastating if goals are not focused on and failure occurs. In addition, problems can be increased by the stress of failure to flow through with exercise or diet plans. Careful planning is crucial in order to not create a worse situation. The addition of fresh foods in place of processed foods is a dramatic change to the health of the body. Time for food preparation may need to be increased which may cause problems for some people, but the extra effort is worth the time saved worrying about a worsening condition. Classes through a local community college or the help of friends and family can get a person on the right track. True, change in diet and exercise wont guarantee continued health, but it does decrease the chances drastically. "Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:" (Genesis 49:25)

Careful research into the types of procedures available will enable a person to make a sound decision concerning continued health through surgical efforts. Carotid artery surgery risks will remain unique to each individual person, but some type of risk remains for everyone. A stent placement is a tube inserted inside the artery in order to break-up and free the carotid artery blockage. This is important due to the overwhelming amount of people who encounter heart attacks and strokes with the underlying cause as a blood clot in a major artery. Stress tests can determine if this procedure is necessary and beneficial in comparison to the risks a person faces. Everything a person will do to overcome the risk of a heart attack presents some sort of risk, as does the disease itself. The key is to determine the actions in which present the least amount of risk and the greatest benefit.

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