Causes and Diagnoses

Carotid Artery Disease Causes and Diagnoses

Atherosclerosis is a slow process in which deposits of fat, cholesterol and calcium build up inside the carotid artery. Atherosclerosis cannot be cured. However, research shows that modifying your risk factors can prolong and improve the quality of your life. The key is to know your risk factors and to modify them.

Risk factor modification

Research shows that modifying your risk factors can improve the quality of your life. Risk factors are habits, traits or conditions that may increase a person's chance of developing atherosclerosis, a major cause of stroke, heart and vascular disease.

Some risk factors for cardiac or vascular disease are a result of genetics and cannot be prevented. These include:

  • Family history of the onset of disease in men, 55 years of age or younger
  • Family history of the onset of disease in women, 65 years of age or younger
  • If you are a male
  • If you are a post-menopausal female

Risk factors that can be modified include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Obesity/overweight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Stress

Tests

If carotid artery disease cuts off the supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart, the result is a heart attack and the heart muscle starts to die. If any of these symptoms occur or if you have a heart attack, your doctor will order one or more of these tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).



Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, please call 847.53.HEART (534.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:



Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, please call 630.232.0280

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials: