What to expect during a Carotid Ultrasound

What to expect during a Carotid Ultrasound

What to expect during a Carotid Ultrasound and the beneifts of the test.

Carotid ultrasound is a painless and safe procedure that tests the structure and functioning of the carotid arteries in your neck and cardiovascular system.

Every person has two carotid arteries that are located on each side of the neck and they help to deliver blood from the heart to the brain. During a carotid ultrasound, sound waves are used to test if these arteries are blocked or narrowed since that can determine your risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.  Results from a carotid ultrasound essentially, help you decide your course of treatment action to reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack.

The need for Carotid Ultrasound

If you fear an increased risk of stroke or heart attack, you must undergo a carotid ultrasound to test for narrowed or blocked carotid arteries. Carotid arteries may be narrowed or blocked by plaque, calcium, fat or cholesterol buildup if these substances exist in excess in your bloodstream. It is highly recommended that you have a carotid ultrasound if you have certain conditions that heighten the risk of stroke or heart attack. These conditions include:

· Diabetes

· High blood pressure

· High cholesterol

· Recent stroke or transient ischemic attack

· Family history of heart disease or stroke

· Abnormal sound in bruit or carotid arteries

Carotid ultrasound, also known as Doppler ultrasound, can be combined with other tests to check for blocked or narrowed blood vessels in other parts of the body.

What to expect from a Carotid Ultrasound

When you go for your carotid ultrasound, a sonographer will use a transducer (a small, hand-held device) that produces sound waves and records the echo when the waves bounce off blood cells, organs and tissues. Thereafter, these echoed sound waves will be translated into a live action image or a graph by a computer. The procedure is painless and safe and takes about thirty minutes to complete.

Before the procedure begins, the sonographer will apply a warm gel on your skin that will eliminate the formation of air pockets between the transducer and your skin. Finally, the sonographer will press his transducer on the side of your neck to emit sound waves and record the echo.

The results of Carotid Ultrasound

After you undergo the carotid ultrasound, a radiologist will examine and interpret the results if there is a risk. The test will surely explain everything you need to know, including the different ways in which your condition can affect your health. If the test shows that you are at high risk of a stroke,  recommendations such as the following will be made:

· Eat a healthy diet that has a balanced quantity of whole grain breads, cereals, fruits and vegetables

· Limit your intake of saturated fat

· Incorporate exercise in your daily routine

· Maintain a healthy weight

· Avoid smoking

· Take medicines to lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol and prevent blood clots

· Undergo carotid endarterectomy, a surgical procedure to remove plaques in your carotid arteries

· Undergo stenting or carotid angioplasty, a surgical procedure to open up your carotid arteries so that they can be supported


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