Once an individual is diagnosed with a blocked carotid artery, the available treatment options should be taken into account without delay. Millions of individuals all over the world suffer from strokes and heart attacks which are due to blocked carotid arteries. It is important to note that this type of blockage develops due to the plaques that adhere to the arterial walls. This causes the diameter of the vessels to become smaller in size, thus preventing the adequate flow of blood.
What are the available treatment options?
At the present, an individual with a blocked carotid artery have 2 treatment options to choose from – medications such as aspirin or angiotensin enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) or surgery specifically carotid endarterectomy, stent placement or angioplasty. The treatment of choice depends on the severity of the blockage and overall health of the individual.
The right treatment for a blocked carotid artery is ideally decided by the individual and the doctor. Surgical repair of the blocked carotid artery is considered a success once performed on arteries with 50% or more degree of blockage. As for arteries that have less than 50% blockage, they can be managed with medications alone.
Dealing with a blocked carotid artery right away will enable the return of oxygenated blood flow to areas of the body, especially the heart and brain. The long-term effects of unblocking the arteries include a minimized risk of future strokes or heart attacks.
Changes in the lifestyle can help with the treatment of a blocked carotid artery. These include a diet high in fiber and fruits while low in salt, fats and cholesterol as well as cessation of smoking. It is also vital to control certain diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes and exercise at least 20 minutes on a daily basis. Remember that lifestyle changes are a long-term treatment and an effective method in preventing future blockage.
What is the outcome?
With the help of surgery, the risk of strokes and heart attacks drastically drops. Individuals who have been diagnosed with constriction of the carotid arteries less than 50% will surely benefit from medications along with lifestyle modifications.
The prognosis among undiagnosed individuals with a blocked carotid artery of more than 50% remains grim and includes the potential for strokes or transient ischemic attacks.