Most of us know the signs and symptoms of heart disease. But what about disease of the carotid arteries, the principal blood supply to the brain?
You can eat right; exercise regularly; feel healthy as a horse; have a picture-perfect EKG-and, yet, for a variety of reasons, have severely narrowed carotid arteries. In fact, your one and only warning sign of serious carotid artery disease may be a major stroke!
A few grim statistics: Every year, stroke strikes nearly 550,000 Americans, one of every three of whom is under the age of 65. It kills 150,000 and forever changes the lives of the 400,000 who survive. And the most common cause of stroke is carotid artery disease.
Action step: Make sure your physician auscultates your carotid arteries on your next visit. The presence of a swooshing sound, called a bruit indicates arterial narrowing or blockage that increases the risk of stroke. Follow-up tests such as doppler ultrasound imaging can confirm the degree of carotid stenosis. And changes in lifestyle, medication or surgery (carotid endartechtomy) can greatly reduce the risk of stroke.
For further information about stroke prevention, contact the National Stroke Association, 8480 East Orchard Road, Suite 1000, Englewood, CO 80111-5015; telephone 303-771-1700 or 800-STROKES.
Bob Levoy is a marketing consultant, seminar speaker and writer based in Roslyn, NY. For further information, contact: Success Dynamics, Inc., 11 Vanad Dr., Roslyn, NY 11576; phone 516-482-5959.