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Serene25 posted:
My doctor told me today that 50% of my right artery and 70% of my left artery is blocked by plaque. This is the first I am hearing of this since this is the first time I have had my cholesterol checked. I am scared to death. Does anyone have this problem and if so, what kind of treatment are you getting to alleviate the problem?
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Haylen_WebMD_Staff responded:
Please read this article with lots of information about clogged arteries: Clogged Arteries (Arterial Plaque)

There are many changes you can make today! And then call your doctor to form a plan of action to get healthy and stay healthy:
1. Lifestyle changes. A healthy lifestyle is essential for the management of arterial plaque and treatment of clogged arteries. This includes eating a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol and rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking, exercising regularly, managing stress levels.
2. In some instances, surgery may be necessary to treat clogged arteries and prevent additional arterial plaque accumulation.
3. A number of medications exist that may help control some of the factors that contribute to the accumulation of art.

Please check in with your doctor and let us know the recommendations - we can provide additional information and support!

Haylen
 
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billh99 responded:
My doctor told me today that 50% of my right artery and 70% of my left artery is blocked by plaque.

To measure the plaque in the coronary arteries (the vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle) require a in invasive hospital test called an angio-gram. It can also be seen with a special CT where a contrast agent is injected into the blood. These are not simple tests and would not be used as screening test.

So I suspect that this plaque in the carotid arteries that run in the neck and supply blood to the brain. That can be measured by ultra sound in the doctors office.

I don't know much about carotid artery plaque. But it also increases the chance of plaque in the heart and other places.

A statin is often prescribed stop/slow down the growth of the plaque along with a lifestyle changes that Haylen mentions.

I am not sure, but a "blood thinner" also be used to help prevent the plaque from forming a clot in the brain and causing a stroke.
 
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billh99 replied to Haylen_WebMD_Staff's response:
In some instances, surgery may be necessary to treat clogged arteries and prevent additional arterial plaque accumulation.

There is no surgery that will prevent additional plaque.
 
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Serene25 replied to billh99's response:
Thank you Haylen and Bill, It started out with me getting a black out, the next thing I remember I was laying on the floor trying to get up. I don't remember how I got there.
My doctor ordered a MRI of my brain, an ultra sound of my throat and a 24 hour holter monitor about a week later. I received the results two days ago, that's how I found out about my arteries. MRI was fine, no word on holter monitor. I still feel dizzy all the time, I had all the symtoms of plaque but never thought I could have cholesteral.
I am and always have been a healthy eater, I check the calories and fat content on everything before it goes in my shopping cart. I don't eat meat, I excercise everyday, do yoga, meditate etc. So naturally when I heard the news I was in shock.
My doctor have prescribes Lipitor which I started taking since yesterday. He suggested surgery and then recant his suggestion claiming it is too dangerous. He suggested I try the Lipitor for a few weeks to see how or if its working.
 
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billh99 replied to Serene25's response:
That really sounds like carotid stenosis.

See http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/carotid-artery-disease-causes-symptoms-tests-and-treatment

He suggested surgery and then recant his suggestion claiming it is too dangerous. He suggested I try the Lipitor for a few weeks to see how or if its working.

There is no medicine that can remove blockage. Lipitor can only slow down/stop the increase. However, some studies have shown that with maximum dosage and optimum diet that there has been regression. But that is very, very slow.

As you describe it you might need more direct treatment.

I am not sure why he said the surgery would be too risky. It sounds like you are in otherwise good health. How I don't follow this problem (my is in the heart) I think that it still the gold standard treatment. But stents are also used to open up the arteries.

I don't know what kind of doctor has done the workup so far, but you probably need to see a cardiologist.

But I think that a vascular surgeon would be the one that would do the surgery. So you might want to get a second opinion from one.
 
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Serene25 replied to billh99's response:
Thank you Bill for this information. I suppose I am a bit naive to believe everything my doctor says, I believed him when he told me Lipitor will break up the plaque, I thought with a low fat diet, exercise, and Meds I will be fine but I am not.
Yesterday my head wanted to explode all day, the pain was excruciating. I lose my balance very easily, I use reading glasses and that in not working for me.

I will be seeing my doctor tomorrow to ask his referral to see a Cardiologist or a Vascular Surgeon as you suggested. I suppose a second opinion will not hurt.

I am not sure either why my doctor said the surgery will be to risky but I suppose all doctors say that to discourage patients I guess, I don't know I am just speculating.

My primary physician is the one who made this suggestion at to the treatment of my problem.

I will definitely get try to get an appointment with a Cardiologist or Vascular surgeon as soon as possible.
Thank you again for your kindness and suggestions, it is much appreciated.
 
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billh99 replied to Serene25's response:
Best of wishes.

Let us know how it works out.
 
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Serene25 replied to billh99's response:
Thanks Bill,

I had a long visit with my doctor yesterday, he told me the headaches were due to spasms in the nerves and gave me something to calm down the headaches.

I told him I wanted to have the surgery, he thinks I should try the Lipitor for a few months, he said the Lipitor shrinks the plaque thus avoiding the risk of getting a stroke during surgery. He also said a few of his patients who have had Plaque in their arteries and took a Statin for six months have had excellent results. Most of their plaque have shrinked and disappeared.

He does not think surgery is the best route to go right now. I am not sure what to believe at this point, I am considering a visit to a cardiologist.

Sherene
 
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bobby75703 replied to Serene25's response:
Serene25,

Bill is correct when he said "there is no medicine that can remove blockage"


Serene quoting her Doctor:
" said the Lipitor shrinks the plaque thus avoiding the risk of getting a stroke during surgery. He also said a few of his patients who have had Plaque in their arteries and took a statin for six months have had excellent results. Most of their plaque have shrinked and disappeared."


Serene, if that is what your Doctor said to you, I'm very sorry to hear this. No one has had their artery plaque "shrink and disappear in 6 months" taking statins, nor has any drug company ever made such a claim.


If I were in your shoes, I would seek another opinion from a doctor that will shoot straight with you. You deserve better than that. Yes, seek a qualified cardiologist.

Bobby
 
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billh99 replied to Serene25's response:
Statins have a number of secondary effects. One is to reduce inflammation. Another is stabilize plaque.

And these may turn out to be more important then the cholesterol lower effects.

I know that because of these the recommendations is to start a patient on a statin before heart surgery.

So I can some merit to wait for the surgery, IF the headaches and dizziness controlled by meds.

But I have never heard of that much plaque being eliminated in that short time.

Again most of my research has been on plaque and coronary arteries.

Personally I would definitely want to get an opinion from a cardiologist.
 
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Serene25 replied to bobby75703's response:
Hi Bobby,

You were right about my doctor, I saw him on Wednesday morning, I asked him for a referral several times, he kept beating around the bush. At the end of my visit he gave me another prescription but no referral.

I came home and realized I had to do something, I started calling around but most of the Cardioligists and Vascular surgeons wanted me to have a referral from my primary doctor. After several calls I finally found a Vascular surgeon who agreed to see me, that was after a long explanation to his receptionist on why I didn't have a referral, then another fifteen minutes while she went and spoke with him.

Anway, I have an appointment to see the Vascular Surgeon in the morning. I am looking forward to hear what he has to say.

Sherene
 
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Serene25 replied to billh99's response:
Hi Bill,



You are right I did some research on this subject and I did not see anywhere that Lipitor or any other statin for that matter eliminating plaque. What I did see was Lipitor helps to prevent more plaque from forming, and definitely not in six months.



I do feel my doctor was giving me the run around since he refused to give me a referral to see a Cardiologist or a Vascular Surgeon. So I went around him and did it myself.



I haven an appointment in the morning to him, I am scared as to what I will find out but also relieved to be seeing someone who is qualified in this field. Thank you, all of you, thanks very much for your advice and input, if it weren't for all of you I probably would never have done anything to help myself.



I believed and trusted my primary physician when he told me everything will be fine.



Sherene
 
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bobby75703 replied to Serene25's response:
Serene25, you did the right thing.
 
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billh99 replied to Serene25's response:
Most doctors should welcome a patient getting a second opinion.

I have been fortunately that I have had a very good relationship with all of my doctors, except one orthopedic surgeon.

I had already studied enough about my problem that I knew what he was telling me was complete BS.

Good wishes.


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