The medical experts at Vascular Associates of South Alabama diagnose and treat carotid artery disease (CAD) for patients living in Fairhope, Alabama. Get the help you need to protect your vascular health!
Most of us are aware of the dangers associated with stroke. We know that a stroke can cause serious, life-altering brain damage. We know that stroke can kill without warning. Public health campaigns have helped increase awareness about stroke symptoms. You've probably heard of F-A-S-T: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911. It's a useful and memorable acronym that reminds us that if we notice those symptoms of stroke in another person or ourselves, we should seek immediate help. Unfortunately, not as many people are familiar with carotid artery disease (CAD), another serious vascular condition. In fact, carotid artery disease is a contributing factor in almost 20% of stroke cases, yet it remains much less recognized than stroke itself.
The key to prevention and successful treatment of arterial diseases lies in awareness and taking proactive measures. Identifying your risk factors for CAD is vital for evaluating your personal risk of stroke. Vascular Associates of South Alabama offers essential diagnostic and treatment support to help you diagnose and manage CAD for improved outcomes.
Our team is here to help. With multiple locations across the Gulf Coast region, including one right here on the Eastern Shore in Fairhope, we make it convenient for you to receive the vascular health care you need. If you're worried about your risk factors for CAD, stroke, or other vascular problems, don't wait any longer: Reach out to us today to get started!
Schedule a consultation with Vascular Associates: Call us at 251-410-8272!
Medical Treatment for Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) in Fairhope, AL
What is the Carotid Artery, and Where is It Located?
Each person has two carotid arteries—one on either side of the neck. They are major arteries—the largest in the body, in fact—and they're responsible for supplying the brain with freshly oxygenated blood, which is essential for brain function and continued life. The pulse that doctors check for in a person's neck is actually the rhythm of the blood flowing through the carotid artery.
What is Carotid Artery Disease (CAD)?
A person with Carotid Artery Disease has an build-up of plaque inside one or both of the carotid arteries. This plaque is a gradual, slowly-increasing formation of fatty deposits that stick to the arterial walls. Plaque narrows the carotid artery, obstructing blood flow. This narrowing can eventually become significant, to the point that brain suffers from a decreased flow of blood, triggering a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
What is a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)?
As we mentioned before, carotid artery disease develops slowly and typically doesn't produce symptoms and may go unnoticed until the patient suffers a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA is a brief neurological dysfunction that results from an obstruction of blood flow to the brain. Depending on the circumstances, a TIA can manifest in several ways, such as vision problems in one or both eyes, slurred or difficult speech, loss of balance, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, dizziness, and difficulty walking.
While the symptoms of a TIA are similar to those of a stroke, it is a temporary condition that usually lasts only a few minutes. However, it is important not to overlook the seriousness of a TIA. Just because the symptoms dissipate, that doesn't mean the danger does. Seek immediate medical attention after experiencing any TIA symptoms, even if the symptoms disappear and you feel able to function normally again. Because TIAs often come ahead of a major stroke, it is essential to think of a TIA as a serious warning. Heed that warning: Arrange to see a doctor without delay.
Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) Diagnosis in Fairhope, Alabama
Carotid artery disease is a serious condition that can greatly impact your overall health. When blood flow to the brain is restricted, the risk of stroke increases significantly. There are two ways in which CAD can cause a stroke. First, a piece of the artery's plaque can break loose, block the blood vessels in the brain, and cause an embolism. Second—and less likely—if the carotid artery is completely blocked, blood flow to the brain from that artery is shut off entirely. Strokes can have devastating effects on the brain, and a severe stroke can even result in death; stroke is a leading cause of both brain damage and death in the United States. At Vascular Associates, we strive to help patients on the Baldwin County Eastern Shore assess, address, and manage their risk for CAD and stroke with effective diagnostic services and innovative treatments.
Assess Your Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) Risk Factors in Fairhope, AL
Anyone can develop CAD, but many people have a heightened risk. Factors that can increase your risk for having CAD include genetic predisposition, underlying medical issues, and lifestyle. Have you assessed your personal level of risk for developing CAD? The vascular specialists at Vascular Associates of South Alabama can help you determine your risk and run any necessary tests to rule it out, but to get started now, here is a list of factors that can increase the likelihood of a person having CAD:
- High Cholesterol
Higher cholesterol levels can increase arterial plaque.
- High Blood Pressure
Left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can weaken and damage arterial walls.
Difficulty with processing fats and blood sugar contributes to a higher risk of both high blood pressure and plaque formation.
Unhealthy weight increases risks for high blood pressure, diabetes, and CAD.
Arteries stiffen with increased age, leaving them vulnerable to damage.
Increased blood pressure and heart rate associated with smoking may irritate the arteries' lining, leaving them susceptible to plaque.
- Family History
There can be a genetic component to susceptibility to CAD, so be proactive if you have a close family member with CAD.
The medical professionals at Vascular Associates of South Alabama are available to help you determine your risk factors for CAD and other vascular ailments. Our offices are conveniently located throughout the area, and we even have one right here in Fairhope! Click here to arrange your consultation or screening for CAD.
Carotid Artery Disease Treatment Specialists in the Fairhope Area
If you're concerned about your risk factors for CAD or are experiencing symptoms similar to a stroke, please contact Vascular Associates of South Alabama. Our compassionate team of vascular specialists will diagnose your condition and create a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.
For those at an increased risk of CAD due to health conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol, managing these risk factors can significantly lower your chances of developing CAD. Making simple lifestyle changes such as exercising, quitting smoking, and eating a healthy diet can have a huge impact on your overall health. For patients who require surgery, our team will assist you every step of the way to get you on the path to a longer, healthier future.
Let Vascular Associates of South Alabama help you manage your arterial health. We're dedicated to providing top-quality care to patients in the Fairhope area and beyond.
Contact us online or call us at 251-410-8272 to schedule your appointment!