Carotid arteries - What are the treatment options?

Patient

Q: I reecently had an ultra sound on my carotid arteries and calcium plaque build up was found on the left and right carotid arteries along the distal common,carotid bulb, and base of the internal carotid artery.since i am weeks away from my scheduled appointment with a specialist (hes on vacation)i was hoping to find out what kind of treatment options i could expect and if there were any treatments i could be doing in the meantime,such as an aspirin daily dosage to expedite my treatments?

Doctor

A:   Carotid artery disease is caused by the build up of plaque inside the carotid arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. The plaque consists of fat, cholesterol and inflammatory cells that are deposited on the walls of the arteries hardening them and decreasing the blood supply.
Treatment of carotid artery disease depends on the extent the arteries are blocked. Initial management consists of life style modifications like : quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol levels, health diet low in saturated fats, cholesterol and salts, mild exercise and limited alcohol intake.
More severe disease will require invasive procedures : These may be i) carotid endarterectomy and ii) angioplasty with stent placement.
Your doctor may also recommend antiplatelet medication like aspirin and clopidogrel to decrease the risk of stroke due to blood clots. Severe cases may even require warfarin (a blood thinner).

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