Realizing your risk factors and making the appropriate lifestyle changes is the first step to preventing a stroke. Your primary care doctor can help you by evaluating risk factors and help you manage them. He or she can also refer you to specialists who can perform a comprehensive stroke risk assessment. A stroke center is staffed with specialists such as neurologists, cardiologists, interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons who focus on providing preventative options for patients. Using a team approach, these professionals evaluate patients and assist in managing risk factors that require more intervention than simple life changes.
Elijah Saunders, MD, professor of medicine explians, "You can help reduce the risk of stroke or even prevent stroke by knowing your risk factors, getting regular check-ups, and committing to a healthy lifestyle."
Neurologists may provide a comprehensive risk assessment. Cardiologists can investigate lipid disorders. Endocrinologists assist patients in managing their diabetes. Vascular surgeons can detect a severe blockage of the carotid artery through a painless ultrasound examination of your neck.
Doppler monitoring provides rapid screening for carotid artery disease.
A carotid endarterctomy is performed to remove life-threatening plaque from the carotid arteries and restore blood flow to the brain. Now surgeons at the University of Maryland perform this surgery under local anesthesia. This allows them to monitor patients while they are wide awake and reduce many risks of this procdure. Most patients rest comfortably after surgery and go home the next day.
For more information, see the Maryland Vascular Center Web site.