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The goal of treatment is to lower your risk of a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a stroke. Treatment depends on whether you have symptoms and how much of your arteries are blocked. You probably will take medicine. You also will be encouraged to make healthy lifestyle changes. Some people have procedures to lower their risk.
You will likely take aspirin or another medicine to prevent blood clots. You will likely also take medicine to lower cholesterol.
Work with your doctor to manage other health problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Avoid colds and flu. Get the flu vaccine every year.
Heart-healthy lifestyle changes can help lower your risk of stroke.
Quit smoking. Avoid secondhand smoke too.
Eat heart-healthy foods.
Be active. Ask your doctor what type of exercise is safe for you.
Stay at a healthy weight. Lose weight if you need to.
If you have some stenosis-but you don't have symptoms-your doctor may want you to have routine ultrasounds. This is to see if the narrowing in your arteries is getting worse.
Surgery or stenting
Surgery in the arteries is called carotid endarterectomy. The doctor makes a cut in the neck and takes the plaque out of the artery.
Some people have a procedure called stenting. A doctor threads a thin tube through an artery in the groin and up to the carotid artery in the neck. Then he or she uses a tiny balloon to enlarge the narrowed part of the artery and places a stent to keep the artery open.
Surgery and stenting have a risk of serious problems, such as stroke or heart attack. People who are at increased risk for problems from surgery or stenting include those who have severe heart disease or other serious health problems. You and your doctor can decide together if you should have a procedure.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.