Carotid Artery Stenosis

Your brain needs a steady supply of oxygen-rich blood.

You have two large carotid arteries, one on each side of your neck, which deliver blood to your brain and head. When fatty deposits (plaque) build up within these arteries, they begin to narrow, impeding the flow of blood to the brain. This puts you at risk of a stroke, the fourth most common cause of death in the United States.

Often, there are no signs or symptoms for carotid artery disease. But there is an important warning sign for stroke: transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). These “mini-strokes” may cause temporary episodes of headache, dizziness, tingling, numbness, blurred vision, confusion or paralysis that can last minutes or hours. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away.

Carotid artery disease often develops slowly as the arteries progressively become more blocked.

Carotid artery disease can be caused by various factors, including smoking, high blood pressure or cholesterol, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and diabetes. Diagnostic tests can help your doctor determine if your carotid arteries are blocked and appropriate treatments can then begin.

• Numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body
• Trouble swallowing
• Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
• Dizziness
• Loss of eyesight or blurry eyesight in one eye

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