The carotid Doppler scan is a simple ultrasound procedure that can assess the blood flow through the arteries that supply your brain. The lining of these arteries can become covered in fatty build ups that restrict the blood flow. The fatty plaque can also be at risk of breaking off and creating blood clots that could result in a stroke. Having a carotid Doppler scan can help your doctor to assess the risk of these kinds of problems and to guide you towards the best treatment options. If you are about to have a scan, you might be wondering what treatments your doctor might recommend if the carotid Doppler scan reveals signs of narrowing or blockages in your arteries.
Some simple lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of blocked arteries or prevent them from getting worse if the scan has revealed signs of narrowing. Your doctor may recommend:
Medication can often help with blocked carotid arteries. Drugs such as statins can help to lower your cholesterol levels, if lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough. Reducing your cholesterol can prevent more fatty material from accumulating in the carotid arteries. Medication can also help if you have high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of stroke when you have blocked carotid arteries.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to strengthen the blood vessels and improve blood flow. The most common option is a surgical stent, which is a small tube that will hold open the affected parts of the carotid arteries. However, surgery for carotid artery disease will be a significant procedure so it is only recommended when other treatments aren’t appropriate, you are at high risk of problems like stroke, and you are experiencing symptoms related to the blockage.
Finding out that you have carotid artery disease can be frightening, but with the right treatment it is often possible to prevent further build-up and to manage the risk of stroke. Knowing that there is a problem is the first step to finding a solution, so it is important to have the Carotid Doppler scan and listen to your doctor’s advice if there are any issues with your arteries.