What is it?

Your carotid arteries are the major blood vessels that deliver blood to your brain. One carotid artery is located on each side of your neck. Carotid stenosis, or carotid artery disease, is a narrowing or blockage of the carotid arteries, usually due to atherosclerosis – a buildup of plaque inside your arteries.
This process can eventually lead to ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), due to an impairment in blood flow to your brain.
Risk factors for atherosclerosis and carotid artery disease include: smoking, high cholesterol level, high blood pressure, diabetes, lack of exercise, being overweight and advanced age.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Carotid Artery Occlusion with Cerebral Infarction
- Carotid Artery Occlusion
- Carotid Artery Occlusion Without Cerebral Infarction

Signs & symptoms

Early carotid artery disease rarely causes symptoms. Symptoms are only likely to appear once one of your carotid arteries has become fully blocked or nearly blocked. At that point, you’re at high risk for a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a stroke, of which Common symptoms include:
* sudden vision problems in one or both eyes
* sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arms, or legs (usually on one side of the body)
* slurred speech
* confusion
* loss of consciousness


During a physical exam, your doctor will listen to the arteries in your neck with a stethoscope for a swishing sound called a bruit. This is a sign that there’s a potential narrowing in your carotid vessels.
There are also additional tests that can be used to detect carotid artery disease:
* Carotid doppler ultrasound – a noninvasive method to show blood flow in your carotid artery.
* Computed tomographic angiography (CTA) or Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) – imaging of your vessels
* Cerebral angiography - an X-ray imaging of your arteries after a special dye is injected to them.


Your doctor will base your treatment plan on the severity of your condition, your symptoms and whether or not you’ve had a stroke or a TIA.
Treatment may include:
* lifestyle modifications - smoking cessation, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet.
* Medications to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, blood thinners and medications for diabetes if you have diabetes,
* surgical intervention: carotid endarterectomy (CEA), in which your surgeon removes the blockage through a neck incision, or carotid artery stenting (CAS) - an endovascular procedure in which a stent in placed inside your carotid artery through a catheter usually inserted from your thigh.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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