Ask the Doctor: Carotid Artery May Be Blocked
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Is there any way to tell if your carotid artery is blocked?
Lately, the left side of my head feels somewhat numb, and the left side of my throat is dry. - T.S.
ANSWER: The right and left carotid arteries, located in the neck, supply blood to the right and left sides of the brain.
A blockage of either brings on a stroke.
Carotid artery blockages ought to be detected before a stroke occurs and part of the brain is lost.
Some symptoms suggest carotid artery blockage: peculiar sensations on the face or body, weakness, dizzy spells, being at a loss for words and visual disturbances.
Usually those things last only for a short time.
They serve as warning signs.
Ultrasound exams of the arteries are one way of determining blockages.
The more or less permanent numbness you feel and the dryness of the throat aren’t stroke symptoms.
Only a doctor’s hands-on exam will disclose what’s going on.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband used to weigh 165 pounds.
He now weighs 100 pounds.
He is 84.
He has had triple bypass surgery, aortic aneurysm surgery and grafts to his leg arteries.
He eats well.
He takes Boost.
What can I give him so that he’ll gain weight?
Doctors say to feed him more.
That’s impossible. - W.D.
ANSWER: If your husband is eating well but losing weight, something must be interfering with his food absorption.
I’d get the opinion of a gastroenterologist for this.
If nothing is found, then the only way to put on weight is through an increase of calories.
Calorie-dense snacks might turn the corner for him.
A handful of nuts, about an ounce, has 185 calories.
Two tablespoons of peanut butter has 190 calories.
A cup of ice cream at bedtime adds 300 calories.
Maybe he would tolerate another can of Boost.
That would give him an extra 240 calories.
Your husband has had more than his share of trouble.
Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.