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How is carotid artery disease treated?

Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

If a carotid artery is less than half narrowed, it is often treated with medicine and lifestyle changes. If the artery is between 50% and 70% narrowed, medicine or surgery may be used depending on your case.

Medical treatment for carotid artery disease may include the following.

Lifestyle changes

Quitting smoking
Lowering cholesterol
Lowering blood sugar Exercising
Blood pressure
Managing stress


Cholesterol-lowering medicines
Blood pressure-lowering medicines

Surgical treatment of carotid artery disease includes:

  • Carotid endarterectomy (CEA): This surgery removes plaque and blood clots from the carotid arteries.
  • Carotid artery angioplasty with stenting (CAS): This is an option for people who are unable to have carotid endarterectomy. It uses a very small, hollow tube, or catheter, that is thread through a blood vessel in the groin to the carotid arteries. Once the catheter is in place, a balloon is inflated to open the artery and a stent is placed.