Risk Factor Modification: Tobacco use damages the arterial walls which makes it easier for plaque to build up and cause complications such as stroke. Studies have shown that carotid wall thickening and degree of stenosis increases from never smokers to former smokers to current smokers. In addition, carotid artery stenosis increases as the number of pack years of smoking increases. If you need help quitting smoking, our physicians will help you obtain information on medication, nicotine replacement products, and programs to make it easier
Diet and Activity: It is important to maintain a diet low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Foods with these components can elevate cholesterol levels making it more likely for plaque to build up in the carotid artery and cause narrowing. Our physicians will work with you to develop a customized, feasible, exercise plan and dieting. Exercise plans can be as simple as sustained walking, leg cycling or swimming starting at 5-10 minutes per day and slowly progressing to a goal of 30 minutes.
Medication Management: Two of the major risk factors for carotid disease are elevated cholesterol/fat levels and type 2 diabetes. Statins have been shown to manage cholesterol/fat levels, stabilize plaque, and reduce the risk of carotid plaque buildup and stroke. In addition patients with type 2 diabetes should engage in good glycemic control and work with their physician to achieve low levels of A1C. Our physicians will work with you to ensure you are on the proper medication regimen to lessen your risk of carotid disease and stroke development.