Carotid stenosis is the narrowing or occlusion of the arteries located on each side of the neck. It is caused by the accumulation of fatty plaque (atheromatous plaque) inside the artery, which decreases or obstructs blood flow to the head and brain.
It is a pathology that in its initial stages is asymptomatic. However, in more advanced cases of the disease, it generates blurred vision, blindness in one eye, dizziness, fainting and other neurological symptoms. It is due to decreased blood flow or to the detachment of small fragments of atheromatous plaque. In extreme cases it can generate episodes of stroke.
Treatment of carotid stenosis
The appropriate treatment for this disease is surgery, called endarterectomy. It is indicated in cases of severe stenosis or, regardless of the degree, which is producing symptoms.
There are other therapeutic alternatives, such as endovascular treatment by stent implantation in the affected carotid artery. However, the choice of technique, whether endovascular or open surgery, must be individualized according to the characteristics of each patient.
In mild or asymptomatic cases, conservative treatment is recommended, consisting of pharmacological treatment and lifestyle changes, with the aim of slowing the progression of the atheromatous plaque.
Periodic follow-up with a specialist in vascular pathology is essential.
If carotid stenosis is left untreated, the atheromatous plaque can progress and thus reduce and even obstruct blood flow to the head and brain.
How to prevent carotid stenosis?
In some cases, it can be prevented. To do so, risk factors must be controlled: maintain good control of blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol levels, regulate weight, eliminate smoking, follow a healthy diet and engage in physical activity. This is essential to prevent the formation and/or growth of atheromatous plaque.