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Blockage in carotid artery. Is there something I can do to dissolve this or prevent it from getting larger?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
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I have been told I have a small blockage in my right carotid artery. Is there something I can do to dissolve this or prevent it from getting larger and more of a problem? I am waiting for cholesterol blood test results, but prior to this it has always been normal. My dr. says he wants cholesterol to be no highter than 177. He says no one is this low naturally. Can you give me your opinion and any information to avoid more problems? I understand the proper diet and exercise is important. I was a daily walker up until awhile ago, and tho I do enjoy bread and too many "bad" carbs, I try to watch it. I eat alot of salads and soups, but I suppose I should lay off the "good" stuff more. I wish I could find specific 3 meal a day menus to go by. I hate milk and don't eat cereals for breakfast as I should, tho I will pick at some out of the box. Thanks for whaatever help you can provide.
Posted Fri, 27 Apr 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 5 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

First of all, yes all the doctors who answer on XXXXXXX are well qualified and are licensed to practice as well. And XXXXXXX is a global organization with its headquarters in Bangalore, India.

Now coming to your specific problem.

The small blockage in your right carotid artery could be due to atherosclerosis or a thrombus formation. Your cholesterol report will be helpful in guiding me regarding the status of atherosclerosis. The reversibility of the blockage depends on the cause. Your cardiologist will be the best person to guide you in this regard.

To decrease your risk of atheroscerosis, a low fat healthy diet is must to follow.

Here is a brief outline of a low fat diet components.

A low cholesterol diet is not hard to follow. When you are shopping for such foods, be sure to look at ‎the labels and choose those with low cholesterol content. Keep the following in mind:‎

‎1. Always eat plenty of fruits and vegetables--they are low in calories and fat. Additionally, these ‎delicious foods will not raise your cholesterol levels.‎

‎2. FATS AND OILS: Try to lower your intake of saturated fats, since consuming foods with these fats ‎could raise your cholesterol levels and place you at a higher risk of acquiring heart disease and arterial blockages.

When cooking with oils, you should use olive and canola oils, which are particularly high in ‎monounsaturated fats or vegetable oil, which is high in polyunsaturated fats. Unlike saturated and trans ‎fats, unsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol and keep you healthy.‎

‎3. Breads and Grains: Use whole grain foods instead of foods containing white flour. Recent studies ‎have indicated that ingesting high amounts of carbohydrates can also raise cholesterol levels and ‎increase your risk of arterial blockage - especially if you have diabetes.‎

‎4. Dairy : Use low fat or skim dairy products instead of regular, full-fat ones. You'll find that not only ‎does this decrease your risk for atherosclerosis, but it is also friendly to your waistline as well!‎

‎5. Meats: Cook with lean meats, such as chicken, fish or XXXXXXX instead of red meat. Leaner meats will ‎not raise your cholesterol levels as much as red meat. On fattier cuts of meat, make sure that you trim ‎the fat off before consuming it.‎

In addition to this if required your cardiologist will add a tablet which will take care of the excess cholesterol and will make sure that the thrombus/atheroma that is present in your carotis artery does not increase in size and cause any problem.

You can also consult a dietitian who will help you in making a healthy diet chart for you with your choice of foods.

I hope this answers your query effectively.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.

Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Blockage in carotid artery. Is there something I can do to dissolve this or prevent it from getting larger? 1 hour later
Thank you for the information which was not exactly new to me. Hoever it did confirm what I have been told and have read recently. I neglected to tell you that I have had stomach ulcers for most of my adult life and use Zantac as needed. Luckily this has not been a problem until recently and Zantac has helped. Since I have a history of ulcers, I assume I still can't take 81ml aspirin, unless it comes coated and that would be appropriate in my situation. what do you suggest?

Recently, over the past 3-4 weeks, every so often I feel short, sharp pain in the back of the right side of my head, sort of at the bottom of my scalp area. I had a bad cold and thought it was just sinus pain. Now with this blockage problem, I am curious as to whether or not pain is a symptom or something else with regard to this situation. Thanks for your help and suggestions.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later

Thanks for writing again.

With a history of gastric ulcers, taking aspirin even if it is a low dose one is not recommended. This can cause gastric bleeding and irritates the gastric lining.

You can opt for an enteric coated tablet.

Pain at the back of the head is less likely to be related to a sinus problem. Arterial blockage is also less likely to cause such a pain. Anxiety, tension, weak eye sight, etc are the more common causes. 4

Your probem needs a direct examination and investigations like MRI for proper diagnosis and treatment.
I encourage you to consult a neurologist for a proper evaluation and treatment.

Hope my answer is helpful. Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you a trouble free early recovery.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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