The Link Between Your Weight and Carotid Artery Disease

With every heartbeat, your brain claims about 20% of the total volume of blood coursing through your arteries.

On average, that’s a little under four cups of blood routed to the brain every minute. Most of that flows through the carotid arteries. So, what happens to your brain when these arteries fail to function normally? And what does your weight have to do with it?

Here at Frontier Medical Care, our vascular disease specialist, Dr. Farouk Marzouk, cares for our patients’ vascular health at our office in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York. He explains the link between carotid artery disease, brain health, and your weight.

Why does your brain need so much blood?

Your brain controls every function in your body. Your heart, lungs, digestive system, muscles, nerves, and other body parts respond to directives from your brain. 

Your brain also sorts and stores information about the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes in your environment. Even personality, creativity, memory, speech, and emotions are controlled by the brain.

All this work requires a tremendous amount of energy which is supplied by the oxygen and other nutrients contained in your blood. When it comes to available blood, your brain gets top priority.

What is carotid artery disease?

Often due to plaque buildup in the arteries called atherosclerosis, carotid artery disease causes narrowing of these major arteries and restricts the vital blood supply to the brain. The condition typically develops slowly over time and often does not produce any symptoms in its early stages. As the disease advances, however, it can eventually lead to a stroke. 

Symptoms of a stroke include:

You should consider these symptoms a medical emergency. Immediate care can help reduce the long-term consequences of a stroke.

Even if the symptoms seem to improve after a few minutes, Dr. Marzouk recommends you see a doctor right away. You may have experienced a transient ischemic attack (TIA) which is a so-called “ministroke.” TIAs can signal that you’re at risk of a having full-blown stroke in the future.

How does my weight affect my carotid arteries?

Excess weight is often a link to many of the conditions that significantly increase your risk of developing carotid artery disease.

These include:

Note that obesity also causes bodywide inflammation that irritates and damages the inner linings of your arteries and other blood vessels.

The good news? A nutritionally sound diet and other healthy habits, as outlined here by the American Heart Association, can help prevent the damaging effects of atherosclerosis.

When necessary, Dr. Marzouk also provides a variety of highly effective treatments to restore the health and function of your carotid arteries, including carotid angioplasty with stenting or a carotid endarterectomy.

For an accurate diagnosis of your carotid artery health, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Marzouk at Frontier Medical Care today.

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