Diet for Carotid Artery Disease

A healthy diet for carotid artery disease

Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) is a heart disease that is caused by the build-up of plaque inside the carotid arteries. This build up creates a blockage or a narrowing of the arteries that prevents oxygen-rich blood flow from getting to the brain. The carotid arteries run down each side of the neck, making up both the internal and external arteries. The internal arteries carry blood and oxygen to the brain and the external arteries supply blood to the face, neck, and scalp. When the internal artery is blocked, blood can't get to the brain which can cause a stroke to occur. If the life-giving blood flow is cut off for just a few minutes, brain cells start to die.

The death of vital brain cells could result in a wide variety of outcomes. Because different brain cells or responsible for a wide variety of functions, when blood flow is cut off, brain cells begin to die creating a variety of different responses within the body. The body may experience functional impairments like brain damage, paralysis, vision and speech problems, and even death. Carotid artery disease is a huge contributing factor to strokes in the United States, however, diet can play an important role in improving or correcting this disorder.

Carotid artery disease causes

Certain health conditions can put you more at risk for CAD. Those conditions include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Obviously, diet and lifestyle play a heavy part in this disorder. Eating high-fat foods and leading an inactive lifestyle can be big contributors. In addition, as we age, our arteries become less flexible and more prone to damage from plaque. Furthermore, if you have family members that have CAD you may be predisposed to developing it. The composition of plaque in arteries is made up of cholesterol, fat, cellular waste, protein and calcium. The composition of plaque within the arteries is a result of a poor diet.

Carotid artery disease symptoms

Unfortunately, CAD rarely causes symptoms early on. The presence of this disorder usually doesn't present symptoms until things have become worse. When an artery has become 80% blocked severe symptoms begin to manifest.

These symptoms include:

  • Weakness or numbness in the face, arms, or legs
  • Indistinct speech and difficulty understanding
  • Immediate vision problems
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache
  • Drooping on one side of the face.

Once a person has begun to experience these symptoms, they should seek medical attention.

The impact of a diet

Logically speaking, the lifestyle changes that are beneficial to those suffering from CAD are compatible with overall general health and wellness. Of course, it's a good idea to eliminate smoking, get enough exercise, and to drink alcohol in moderation. However, nutrition and diet play a vital role in this disorder. A heart-healthy diet is a powerful tool in the war against CAD. Eating a diet low in saturated fat and trans-fats will reduce the amount of cholesterol-filled plaque in your arteries. Instead, you'll improve your health and wellness by leaps and bounds by eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, high in monounsaturated fats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

These foods, in particular, nourish your body with powerful nutrition that has the ability to:

  • Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
  • Reduce blood pressure levels
  • Reduce inflammation of the arteries
  • Diminish your chances of developing diabetes
  • Help with weight loss, or
  • Help to maintain a healthy weight.

Food can be a powerful nutritional tool when it comes to CAD. The more good nutrition you put into your body, the more you do to win the war against CAD.

Most of us understand the powerful ramifications that Carotid Artery Disease can have on our health. The consequences are serious enough to be life-threatening. This is why it's a good idea to understand what's happening inside our bodies when we have this disorder. Understanding and leading a healthier lifestyle are essential tools to helping in the fight against this disorder. The impact of food and good nutrition can be quite powerful when it comes to reducing the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Blood that's allowed to flow freely through your arteries provides essential oxygen to your brain and other organs.

The more you can do to protect the health and wellness of your heart, the better.

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Last Reviewed:
June 15, 2017
Last Updated:
October 11, 2017
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