Dr Brian Davies ND BSc  

P: 778-340-1114 - F: 778-340-7702 - Unit 102 – 88 Lonsdale Avenue North Vancouver, BC V7M 2E6

Carotid Arterial Disease

Carotid arterial disease is a condition in which the large arteries of the neck become damaged and narrowed due to a process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs from improper repair of damaged blood vessels, due to free radical insult, fatty accumulation and calcification. Often carotid arterial disease or stenosis can remain asymptomatic, however in some people symptoms result from the obstruction of the blood flow to the brain and face.

In the initial stages of Carotid Arterial Disease, symptoms are typically consistent with a reduction of blood flow called a transient ischemic attack (TIA). TIA’s may cause symptoms of numbness or tingling sensations in the body, weakness in movement of the upper or lower limbs, loss of vision, or lack of speech. These symptoms are often transient, and may last from several seconds to several hours. In advanced stages, this condition can dramatically increase a persons risk of stroke due to blood clot formation or complete vascular obstruction.

In conditions such as this, people should not wait for symptoms to occur. A doctor can often look for signs of arterial diseases with the use of a stethoscope, and if further investigation is warranted, ultrasonic imaging studies are a “non-invasive” way to properly screen for many arterial diseases. As increased age is the most common risk factor for atherosclerosis, it may be important to be screened at your next physical examination or request ultrasonic screening techniques from your doctor.

In atherosclerosis, high cholesterol and calcium accumulation are typically to blame. In actual fact, atherosclerosis is the result of blood vessel damage from physical stress like high blood pressure or infection and subsequent insult to these damaged areas by free radical damaged fats such as lipid peroxides. Free radical damage can result in the over activation of the bodies mechanisms of blood vessel repair, leading to increases in blood cholesterol. What this means is that increased cholesterol is simply a marker of blood vessel damage, hence cholesterol reduction does not actually reduce the cause of arterial disease.

Although genetic factors can play there part in the process of atherosclerosis, often the cause of this condition, free radical accumulation, is a highly preventable problem. Lifestyle modifications such as stress and weight reduction, regulation of blood sugar, avoidance of refined carbohydrates, alcohol, tobacco, hydrogenated or trans fats, chemicals, pesticides, additives and preservatives are key. Further, as the liver is one of the primary antioxidant producers and free radical neutralizers in the body, it is essential to support liver function to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. The liver is the bloods main filter. Over accumulation of toxins in the liver can actually create free radicals and increase the risks of vascular disease, however, the opposite is true when we help the liver do its job appropriately. Arterial diseases are preventable and even reversible with proper treatment of the liver through support and lifestyle modifications.

Carotid arterial disease is one of many types of vascular diseases typically related to atherosclerosis. Through simple lifestyle modifications, the causes of atherosclerosis can be prevented and even reversed. It is important for people with all forms of disease to treat there liver well, as the liver is the main filter in the body. Your liver has many essential functions, which can be supported by healthy lifestyle choices.

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