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Clogged Arteries in Brain (Stroke): Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment

Updated on 28 June 2022

The brain is the major organ of the human body that controls the functions of other body parts. A carotid artery is located on each side of the neck and these supply blood to the brain. If there is a blockage in any one of the carotid arteries, the blood supply to the brain is disrupted. This is the most common cause of stroke. 

Causes of Clogged Arteries in the Brain

The main cause of clogged arteries in the brain is the building of plaque in the arteries. Plaques may be formed from proteins, fats, calcium, and waste cells. 

Plaque formation narrows down the arteries, and the arteries will become hard and less flexible. This reduces the flow of blood to the brain. Clogged arteries may also occur due to other diseases that can damage the arteries.

Risk Factors for Clogged Arteries in the Brain

Some people are at an increased risk of developing clogged arteries. The risk factors for clogged or blocked artery in brain include the following:

  • People suffering from high blood pressure are at a greater risk because high blood pressure makes the arteries weak, due to which the arteries can get damaged easily. 
  • High blood cholesterol is another risk factor for causing clogged arteries in the brain.
  • People suffering from high blood sugar are also at an increased risk. High blood sugar can cause high blood pressure and the risk of developing plaque increases.
  • Being overweight is also an increased risk factor for high blood pressure and diabetes which further increases the risk of atherosclerosis or clogged arteries. 
  • Lack of physical activity is the major cause of high blood pressure, obesity, and high blood sugar and can increase the risk of clogged arteries. 
  • People who smoke are also at an increased risk of clogged arteries.
  • Increasing age is also a risk factor because, in older people, the arteries become stiff and can damage easily.
  • People who have a family history of stroke are at more risk of suffering from clogged arteries. 

Symptoms of clogged arteries in the brain (BE-FAST)

A person may experience symptoms only when the arteries become clogged. A person can suffer a stroke when the arteries supplying the brain become completely blocked. A person may experience the following symptoms due to a sudden stroke:

  • Difficulty in speaking and understanding
  • Weakness in the legs, arms, and face
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Drooping of the face on one side
  • Severe pain in the head

Treatment for Clogged Arteries in the Brain

The treatment for a blocked artery in brain varies from person to person. The treatment is based on the symptoms and whether a person has experienced a stroke or not. 

If there is mild blockage of arteries and the diagnosis is made before a person experiences a stroke, the doctor will advise the person to make lifestyle changes which include the following:

  • One should quit smoking to reduce the risk of developing plaque in the arteries.
  • One should exercise regularly to improve the functioning of body parts and maintain normal body weight. Exercise also helps to reduce blood pressure and manage blood sugar.
  • One should eat a healthy diet, including green vegetables and fruits, to improve the immune system.
  • One should manage chronic health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes by maintaining a good lifestyle.

Medical (Non-invasive) treatment for clogged arteries:

Blood thinners (anti-thrombotic agents) are commonly used for mild to moderate stroke 

Surgical (Invasive) treatment for clogged arteries

If a person suffers from a severe stroke, the doctor will advise an invasive treatment. There are different methods of removing blockage from clogged arteries. 

Carotid Endarterectomy: In this method, the doctor will give you local or general anaesthesia and will make an incision in the neck. The doctor will remove the blockage from the artery after opening it. The artery will be stitched. 

Stent in the Artery: Another method used for the treatment of clogged arteries is putting a stent in the artery. This option is suitable for people who are at high risk for surgery or suffer from other health problems. In this method, the doctor will use a balloon to widen the artery and then insert a stent to keep the artery wide open. 

Outlook for People Suffering from Clogged Arteries in the Brain

The outlook for the clogged arteries in the brain will depend on the severity of the problem. People who are at risk of developing clogged arteries can improve their lifestyles to maintain better health. 

  • People suffering from high blood pressure should get their blood pressure checked regularly.
  • People suffering from high blood sugar and cholesterol should get their blood sugar and cholesterol checked regularly.
  • They should go for another test on a routine basis for an early diagnosis of the condition and take the right treatment.

In conclusion, clogged arteries in the brain can be dangerous and can produce harmful effects. Therefore, one should be aware of the symptoms and should make required lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of clogged arteries. People at risk should consult with a doctor regularly for early diagnosis and treatment.






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