Carotid ultrasound to prevent stroke

Published: February, 2013

Q. I often receive offers in the mail to perform an ultrasound of my carotid arteries. Should I sign up for a carotid ultrasound?

A. You probably don't need this test unless you are experiencing certain warning signs. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and the major risk factors for stroke are age, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking. Narrowing of the carotid arteries could cause a clot that blocks blood flow to the brain (ischemic stroke).

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