Carotid Artery Symptoms

  Carotid Artery Symptoms Explained



Carotid Artery Symptoms

Carotid Artery Symptoms - Know What to Look For

Avoid Clogged Arteries

The Carotid artery is the large artery at each side of the neck under the jaw. On the right side, the carotid artery branches off the aorta artery and on the left side it stems directly off the aortic arch. The carotid arteries carry blood and oxygen to the brain. If the brain fails to get enough oxygen, this can be a sign that the carotid arteries are blocked, thereby producing carotid artery symptoms. Blocked carotid arteries (or carotid artery stenosis) is the number one risk factor and causation of strokes in United States each year. Statistics show an estimated three quarters of a million people suffer from symptoms of blocked carotid arteries.

Carotid Artery Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms

Carotid artery disease and its associated symptoms occur when plaque (a fatty substance) accumulates in the arteries. Medics call this condition atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries," which restricts blood flow to the brain, thereby increasing the risk of stroke. Another risk factor for stroke is when blood clots form due to accumulation and build up of plaque, which cracks and breaks free to form a clot. It's vital with carotid artery symptoms that you know what to look for, by becoming aware of the potential signs of the condition. Often, the first warning sign for most people is a stroke, or 'mini-stroke'. However, a majority of people do not experience a mini-stroke first.

Common carotid artery symptoms include: numbness and/or weakness in the facial area or body (very often on one side), problems with mobility, speech difficulties, a severe headache and feelings of dizziness. Other carotid artery blockage symptoms can include a hissing sound in the ears and problems with maintaining a focused thought sequence. If you experience any of these symptoms all of a sudden, you should consult a medical professional immediately.


Carotid artery stenosis is usually diagnosed by use of ultrasound scan in the area of the neck. Further scans may be required, such as angiogram or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRA), depending on availability of equipment and choice of investigation procedure by the clinician.


It's common for patients with carotid artery stenosis to be prescribed medication, usually aspirin and/or statins, which are used to reduce cholesterol and stabilize plaque. Where surgery is recommended, doctors will opt for one of the following surgical procedures in the treatment of people who experience carotid artery symptoms. One such procedure is carotid endarterectomy. This surgery is used for those with minimum 50% blockage of the carotid arteries and entails removal of plaque from the arteries via the neck. The second procedure is angioplasty; commonly used to widen the carotid arteries, which restores blood circulation to the brain.

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