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Hi, I went to my primary for a physical required for the nursing program I am entering. He heard a carotid bruit in my left carotid and I had an ultrasound performed last week. There is some family history of strokes, but the only cases I know of occurred much later in life. The ultrasound technician asked me my smoking history, which includes smoking during the summer in high school since I played sports three seasons per year in school. I smoked some in college but was never a heavy smoker and haven't had a cigarette since before I got married three years ago. I was seen for dizziness last summer as it had happened that my vision became blurry twice while driving. The nurse practitioner thought I was having anxiety attacks given my situation at the time and family history for that. She did not listen to my carotids. Could my intermittent smoking in youth really caused this to occur? I am of healthy weight. I gave birth to my second child 8 weeks ago and did not have high blood pressure during either pregnancy, nor do I have high blood pressure now. I did drink alcohol quite a bit in college, but only have a couple drinks per week now. I am not diabetic, but I have a strong family history of diabetes, if that is at all relevant. Also, is it more common than I think for a carotid bruit to occur or should I be pretty concerned about this increased stroke risk?
How are you? A carotid bruit is heard when using a stethoscope to listen to blood flow in the carotid artery. A bruit indicates a fatty buildup in the artery. Though some say carotid bruit is a sign of higher stroke risk, there are studies which conclude that carotid bruit is not a useful clinical marker of increased stroke risk especially in asymptomatic patients like you. Bruits are just a sign of generalized atherosclerosis. That is why it is advised that lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, stress management, exercise and eat healthy foods to help you prevent or slow the progression of atherosclerosis.
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