What Does “mild to Moderate Hard Plaque in Carotid Arteries” Mean?

Mild to moderate hard plaque is a stage of atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries, states the University of California San Francisco Department of Surgery. This can eventually lead to carotid artery disease if it is left untreated.

Carotid arteries are the blood vessels that supply blood between the heart and the brain, according to the UCSF Department of Surgery. Over time, plaque buildup obstructs the flow of blood through arteries. Potential outcomes include stroke and heart attack.

However, the amount and type of plaque influence potential outcomes, reports the Texas Heart Institute. Soft plaque is most often the cause of a heart attack. Like a domino effect, soft plaque, which is more likely to tear off, can lead to blood clots, blockages, stroke and heart attack. Mild or moderate plaque in the arteries does not require a special procedure, reports the UCSF Medical Center.

Aspirin, an antiplatelet agent, may sufficiently address mild or moderate plaque, as the UCSF Department of Surgery claims. Eliminating risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure may also be effective forms of preventing future stroke or heart attack caused by plaque buildup, reports the UCSF Medical Center.

Aspirin is an over-the-counter remedy, but individuals seeking to treat mild to moderate hard plaque in their arteries should do so under the care and supervision of a doctor, says the UCSF Medical Center.