A carotid artery scan, also known as a carotid duplex scan, is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to produce images of the carotid arteries in the neck. This test can help identify the presence of carotid artery disease, which occurs when the arteries become narrowed or blocked due to a buildup of plaque. Carotid artery disease can increase the risk of stroke, making early detection and treatment critical.
Here are some reasons why you may need a carotid artery ultrasound:
You have risk factors for carotid artery disease: Risk factors for carotid artery disease include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and a family history of heart disease. If you have any of these risk factors, your doctor may recommend a carotid artery ultrasound to assess your risk for carotid artery disease.
You have symptoms of carotid artery disease: Symptoms of carotid artery disease may include weakness or numbness on one side of the face or body, difficulty speaking, dizziness, or sudden vision changes. If you experience any of these symptoms, your doctor may recommend a carotid artery ultrasound to determine the cause.
You have had a stroke or mini-stroke: If you have had a stroke or mini-stroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), your doctor may recommend a carotid artery ultrasound to assess the extent of carotid artery disease and determine the best treatment plan.
You are undergoing treatment for carotid artery disease: If you are undergoing treatment for carotid artery disease, such as medication or surgery, your doctor may recommend periodic carotid artery ultrasounds to monitor the effectiveness of treatment.
Overall, a carotid artery ultrasound is a safe and non-invasive test that can provide valuable information about the health of your carotid arteries and your risk for stroke. If you have any concerns about your risk for carotid artery disease, talk to your doctor about whether a carotid artery ultrasound may be appropriate for you.