One of the many services we provide at Virginia Vein & Wellness Center is our carotid artery screening. This is an ultrasound to assist you in assessing your stroke risk. Here are a few things you need to know regarding this screening and whether it would be helpful to you.
Carotid Artery Ultrasound Defined
Carotid arteries are major arteries in your neck that carry oxygenated blood from your heart to your brain. Over time, plaque (made from cholesterol, fat and other bodily substances) may begin to build up in your arteries, which can lead to blockages.
Carotid Artery Stenosis
This is when the arteries in your neck significantly narrow as a result of plaque buildup, limiting the amount of blood flow that gets to your brain. This can result in a stroke. You may also have plaque that isn’t causing a narrowing effect, but its parts break off and travel to smaller arteries in your brain. This blocks the blood flow, which can result in a stroke.
The carotid artery screening is a simple test using ultrasound to look at the blood flow and any plaque that may have built up in your carotid arteries. This test is painless and take less than an hour.
Who Should Get a Carotid Artery Ultrasound
Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and they are the main reason why you would need to get a carotid artery screening. This test is advisable if you have a family history of stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or are overweight or a smoker. Conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease are also risk factors.
Some of the early warning signs of a stroke that you must take seriously are slurred speech, unusual visual disturbances (double vision, shade being pulled down in one eye), weakness in either your arms or legs and dizziness. If you experience any of these, you may be having a stroke. There are many cases of people having no warning signs at all. Therefore, it’s good practice to have a carotid artery screening to assess any possible problems that may be lurking.
At Virginia Vein & Wellness Center, we do our carotid artery screenings in our office by a registered Vascular Technologist. It’s inexpensive, easy and can potentially make you aware of and able to do something about a health risk. If you think you may be at risk for carotid artery disease, schedule an appointment with us today!