Stroke remains one of the top causes of death and disability in the United States. It is estimated that about 795,000 people suffer from stroke each year. About 600,000 of these are first time attacks.

What is stroke?

Stroke (also known as ‘brain attack’) occurs when the blood flow to a certain part of the brain is disrupted. As a result, the brain cells are deprived of their needed oxygen and glucose. The lack of oxygen and glucose to the brain cells eventually lead to cell death. When medical intervention is not sought immediately, a stroke can lead to permanent brain damage.

Why does it happen?

There are several reasons why stroke occurs but one of the most common one is a clogged carotid artery.

The carotid arteries are a pair of major blood vessels located on both sides of your neck that deliver blood to the brain and head. They can get clogged as a result of plaque buildup. Plaque contains clumps of fats, cholesterol, protein, and cellular waste.

Unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle puts one at risk for carotid artery disease.

Who is at risk for stroke?

Stroke can affect anyone but there is higher susceptibility among those with high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, those who smoke, who are obese, and have a sedentary lifestyle.

What are the signs and symptoms to watch out for?

The acronym FAST is the easiest way to remember and recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke. It stands for:

  • Face drooping

Stroke causes the face to droop. There can also be uneven facial numbness (felt in only one side) and when one attempts to smile, it appears uneven.

  • Arm weakness

A stroke attack can also cause one-sided arm weakness.

  • Speech difficulty

Stroke can cause slurring of speech or difficulty in speaking at all.

  • Time to call 911

The last letter in the acronym represents what to do if the aforementioned symptoms are observed. A stroke attack is a medical emergency. So, when symptoms are observed, don’t delay! Seek medical help immediately.

Get screened for Carotid Artery Disease

Premier Surgical’s vascular surgeons are specifically trained to diagnosis and treat carotid artery disease.  Diagnosis will include a physical exam in which our vascular specialists use a stethoscope to listen to your heart and blood vessels. Test such a carotid artery duplex scan, CT scan, or an angiogram may also be recommended.

Depending on the severity of the narrowing of your carotid artery, medication may be used to slow the progression of the carotid artery disease. If the degree of narrowing is more than 60 %, a vascular procedure such as carotid endarterectomy or carotid angioplasty and stenting may be warranted.

Request an appointment with a Premier Vascular Surgeon online, or by calling 865-588-8229.