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What can be done to prevent the carotid artery from narrowing?
A narrowed carotid artery significantly increases the risk of stroke. The deterioration in health is usually only noticeable when damage has occurred. For this reason, preventive measures are recommended for everyone. Individuals classified as at risk should pay particular attention to following the advice.
Who is at risk?
The narrowing of the carotid artery develops in the course of arteriosclerosis. Deposits in the blood vessel walls narrow them and the risk of vascular occlusion increases. If not enough blood reaches the brain via the carotid artery, a stroke occurs. The main factors that increase the risk of having a stroke are:
The tendency to occlusive diseases can also show in the family. So anyone who observes that strokes or heart attacks are increasing in relatives should take a critical look at their own lifestyle.
These risk factors need to be reduced
Eating a healthy diet is one of the most important prevention measures. With a balanced and calorie-conscious food intake, obesity can be prevented and a narrowing of the carotid artery avoided. Too many foods with saturated fats or high amounts of sugar should be avoided. Vegetables and fruits, on the other hand, are beneficial for a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, alcohol consumption must be kept low - or stopped entirely.
Another risk factor is the increased cholesterol level, which may require treatment. This is especially the case when a change in diet is not enough to normalize the values.
In addition to diet, regular exercise is important to prevent arteriosclerosis and narrowing of the carotid arteries.
Quitting smoking is also very important. Smoking increases the risk of atherosclerosis, among many other health disadvantages. Smokers who fail to quit can find support from their family doctor. He can prescribe drugs that make it much easier to wean. Nicotine patches or chewing gum already help many.
Against stress as a risk factor, it makes sense to take measures to reduce stress, which include relaxation procedures.
High blood pressure is not painful and does not have to cause symptoms. Often enough, those affected feel fit and believe that they are fully resilient. High blood pressure is therefore often an incidental finding. Depending on the stage, the doctor will decide whether medication is necessary. An adjustment phase is required for them to be fully effective. Blood pressure patients should never stop taking their medication if they have problems with side effects.
In patients with diabetes, it is important that blood sugar is well controlled and checked regularly.
Further measures in case of increased risk
In addition, preventive medical checkups are important. Deposits on the carotid artery can be seen on the ultrasound image. Here the doctor can also see the circumference and inner diameter of the artery and assess the blood flow. If the carotid artery is already narrowed to some extent, harbingers of the stroke can occur in the form of a TIA (transient ischemic attack). Then signs such as movement and sensitivity disorders, vision and language problems can develop for a short time. Often, however, patients with a narrowed carotid artery feel perfectly healthy.
A stroke changes life forever. Even if it's a mild seizure, the consequences of which wear off over time, a stroke has consequences. The risk of a second attack is high, and with it the probability that the next stroke will be much more severe. For this reason, protecting blood vessels is a high priority. Eating a healthy diet goes a long way towards reducing the risk of stroke. The food should therefore be low in fat, balanced and low in salt. Adequate water consumption is also important, as lack of water can increase blood pressure and the risk of blood clots.
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