Atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid artery: symptoms and treatment

Atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries is a fairly common pathology, which, thanks to the intensification of modern life, has recently become much younger.

The disease provokes the appearance of various serious complications in the body, leading to abnormalities in the brain.

The danger of the disease is that in the process of its development in the cavity of the carotid artery on the inner surface of the vascular wall, cholesterol deposits form in the form of plaques.

Atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid artery leads to overlap of the vessel lumen, which disrupts normal blood circulation in the brain tissues, causing a malfunction in its functioning, therefore, treatment of the pathology should be started immediately, immediately after the first signs of the disease are detected.

The main causes of the disease

In perfect condition, the carotid arteries should function smoothly.

The function of these blood vessels is to supply the brain with enough blood. The blood provides the nerve cells with nutrition and oxygen and carries away the products of their vital activity from them.

Over time, in the course of its functioning, the walls of the carotid arteries partially lose their elasticity and may narrow.

The decrease in the internal lumen of the arteries and the change in the degree of elasticity occurs due to the deposition of cholesterol deposits on the inner surfaces of the vascular wall.

Damage to the walls of arterial blood vessels can occur for several reasons.

To date, medicine has not reliably established all the causes of atherosclerosis in the body.

Doctors talk about risk factors that contribute to the development of pathology.

The following risk factors are distinguished:

  1. a person has bad habits, such as smoking tobacco and alcohol abuse;
  2. arterial hypertension - persistent long-term increase in blood pressure;
  3. violations in the work of the organs of internal secretion;
  4. pathologies in the implementation of fat metabolism;
  5. the consumption of harmful foods and eating disorders recommended by the attending physician;
  6. genetic susceptibility to the development of pathology;
  7. stressful emotional stress on the body;
  8. maintaining a lifestyle with insufficient physical activity;
  9. the presence in the body of the effects of some infectious diseases;
  10. disorders of the immune system - autoimmune pathology;
  11. the presence of diabetes in humans;
  12. the presence of elevated plasma levels of elevated levels of low and very low density lipoproteins.

Most often in the body of a person suffering from pathology there are several risk factors, and they act in a complex. Such effects on the body accelerates the progression of the disease.

In very rare cases, the development of pathology may be due to the presence of aneurysm or carotid dysplasia.

Characteristic signs of the development of pathology

A characteristic feature of atherosclerotic lesions of the vascular system is that at the initial stages of its development has practically no manifestations.

Vascular pathology at the earliest stages of progression, without having characteristic symptoms, is difficult to diagnose. Most often, the doctor reveals the presence of the disease already at those stages when the lesion of the blood vessels reaches a pronounced level.

There are a number of signs that make it possible to assume the presence of the disease in a patient.

The appearance of rapidly passing ischemic attacks should alert the patient.

The characteristic symptoms of such attacks are:

  • The appearance of tingling and numbness of one half of the body.
  • The occurrence of itching in the limbs.
  • Disturbance of speech functions, most often in this case, speech becomes illegible.
  • Visual impairment in one eye.
  • Decreased sensitivity of one limb.

As the disease progresses, these symptoms gradually become brighter and appear more often. The duration of transient attacks begins to increase over time.

Symptoms characteristic of atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries are also a precursor to the development of stroke.

These symptoms indicate that the trip to the doctor should not be postponed.

Options for the development of the disease and methods of its diagnosis

The most dangerous complication resulting from atherosclerotic changes in the carotid arteries is stroke.

In the absence of therapeutic measures aimed at stabilizing health, cholesterol plaques increase in size until vascular blockage occurs.

There are several options for the development of the disease in case of stenosis of the vessel.

The main options are as follows:

  1. There is a progressive decrease in the flow of arterial blood to brain cells.
  2. Rupture of atherosclerotic plaques. As a result of the development of such a scenario, detached plaques with the blood flow into smaller vessels with subsequent blockage occur. This situation leads to blocking the process of normal blood supply to certain sections of the brain tissue, which leads to the death of the tissue.
  3. Blockage of the vessel lumen by a clot formed by a blood clot. This situation arises as a result of plaque rupture and accumulation at the site of platelet rupture. Platelets form a blood clot. In the case of the formation of a large blood clot, it begins to slow down the pumping of blood, which leads to an apoplexy stroke.

Laboratory and instrumental diagnostic methods are used for the timely detection of pathology.

First of all, a thorough examination of the patient is required.

Diagnosis of the disease begins with the collection of anamnesis. In the process of examination, the doctor reveals the presence of risk factors for the disease.

During the examination of the patient, the carotid arteries must be auditioned.

Also during the inspection, blood pressure is measured. The increased value of this indicator may indicate the presence of disorders in the carotid arteries.

An obligatory stage of the examination is an ultrasound scan with Doppler vascular scanning. The use of this diagnostic technique is completely safe and allows you to accurately determine the diagnosis.

In case of doubts in diagnostic indicators, the following methods are used to clarify the diagnosis:

  • computed tomography - a technique that allows you to accurately determine the structure of the arterial vessel, for the examination by this method requires the introduction into the bloodstream of a contrast compound;
  • magnetic resonance imaging;
  • examination of vessels by angiography using contrast compounds.

The latter method of examination has recently been used quite rarely, since it can contribute to the separation of plaque and its further migration through the circulatory system.

Carotid Atherosclerosis Treatment

If atherosclerotic plaque in the lumen of the vessel is not only formed, but also has grown, leading to impaired blood supply to the nervous tissue, treatment of the disease should be started immediately.

With this state of cholesterol deposition, the meaning of treatment is not to dissolve the deposition, but to prevent its destabilization. The fact is that in case of a rupture of the membrane, a thrombus is formed at the place of the plaque that can cause the development of a stroke.

One of the most important factors for successful treatment is the normalization of cholesterol in the blood plasma. As a rule, the growth of deposits stops, if the level of LDL and VLDL in the body is normalized.

To achieve positive results of treatment the patient is recommended to follow a special diet.

In the process of treatment, both medical methods and surgical intervention are used to normalize the blood supply to the brain cells.

The carotid arteries are the main highways for supplying blood to the brain, so the health of nerve cells depends on their condition.

When conducting therapeutic drug therapy, medications are used that belong to different groups of drugs.

After the examination, the doctor, based on his results, selects the most optimal list of drugs that need to be taken during the treatment.

As a rule, an integrated approach is used for the treatment of this ailment, with the use of tablets belonging to the following groups of drugs:

  1. Statins.
  2. Antiplatelet drugs.
  3. A nicotinic acid.
  4. Fibrates and some others.

The use of drugs should be accompanied by the observance of dietary nutrition and an increase in physical load on the body.

In the absence of positive results in the treatment with the use of drugs or in detecting the disease in a state of neglect, when the plaque reaches significant size and covers almost the entire lumen of the blood vessel, a surgical method of treatment is applied.

The method of surgical intervention is determined by the vascular surgeon, taking into account the results of the analysis and the characteristics of the patient.

At the present stage, the following types of surgical treatment of carotid atherosclerosis are used:

  • carotid endarterectomy;
  • laser coagulation of plaque;
  • artery stenting.

The first method allows you to remove the plaque with the help of excision of the vessel. The use of a laser allows you to remove deposits without excision, and the installation of the stent makes it possible to restore the patency of the vessel by expanding its walls.

Each of the methods used has its own list of indications and contraindications for use.

It should be remembered that atherosclerosis is a pathology that is not completely cured, therefore, in order to maintain the health of the patient, it is required to follow the recommended diet for life and follow all the recommendations of the doctor.

Traditional methods of treatment and prognosis of the disease

In that case, if we are talking about atherosclerosis of blood vessels supplying the brain with a brain, any self-treatment is contraindicated. Before using traditional remedies it is recommended to consult with your doctor on this issue. Independent use of any funds can cost a person a life.

Folk remedies, recommended by a doctor, should be used to normalize health only in conjunction with the reception of prescribed special medications.

As a rule, doctors recommend taking decoctions of wild rose and hawthorn. In addition, help to burn cholesterol garlic, onions, lemon and beets.

The prognosis of the disease is ambiguous. In this case, the outcome of the course of the disease is influenced by a large number of factors and characteristics of the patient.

In the event that a disease is detected at the earliest stages of progression, the prognosis is favorable, since the use of timely and adequate treatment in combination with a diet can significantly slow down or halt the progression of the pathology.

In identifying the disease in the latter stages, the likelihood of the development of such complications as stroke and heart attack increases many times, which can trigger the onset of a lethal outcome.

On the atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries described in the video in this article.

Watch the video: Carotid Artery Disease and Stroke: Prevention and Treatment. Q&A (October 2019).