Carotid arteries are two large blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the brain and other main parts of the body. You can feel the pulse of carotid artery which is situated just below the jaw line. Also known as carotid artery stenosis, it is a condition in which carotid arteries are narrowed. Before we head on to find out the signs of carotid artery disease, let us look at some of the causes of the same:
Carotid artery disease is usually caused due to deposition of fatty substance and cholesterol, narrowing them. As a result, the blood flow to the brain decreases. This can cause a person to suffer from a brain stroke or a “brain attack”. This occurs when blood flow is cut off from the part of the brain.
Signs and symptoms of carotid artery disease:
- Carotid artery disease does not have any specific symptoms. Three of the main signs of carotid artery disease include: Bruit, TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack)
Bruit is diagnosed when a doctor uses a stethoscope to listen the patient’s heartbeat. If they hear a whooshing sound, it is referred to as bruit. The sound suggests that there is a change in the blood flow due to deposition of cholesterol on the walls of carotid arteries. The doctors will suggest some tests that will confirm the condition.
It causes brain damage that lasts longer than usual. The brain damage can lead long-term disability, vision and speech problems and even paralysis. In extreme cases, it can even cause death. Most people suffering from strokes do not get mini-strokes as a warning sign, which makes the condition even more serious.
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
Transient Ischemic Attack is also called as “mini stroke”. This is actually the first sign of carotid artery. The symptoms are usually similar to that of a stroke. The only difference is these symptoms lasts not more than 24 hours. Hence the name “mini stroke”. The symptoms of mini stroke include sudden, severe headache with unknown causes, loss of balance, Dizziness, Inability to move your limbs (partial paralysis), trouble seeing with both the eyes. Weakness or numbness in face and limbs (or just one side of the body), loss or inability to understand speech.
Getting treatment for these above-mentioned symptoms is very crucial, as their diagnosis will deduce the underlying disease, in this case, coronary artery disease. There are good chances of full recovery if a blocked artery is treated within 4 hours of the onset of symptoms. Learning the signs of coronary artery disease will allow one to lower the risk of brain damage or even death due to these symptoms.