The carotid arteries are the two main arteries that take oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain. When fatty deposits and cholesterol build up along the artery walls, blood flow to the brain becomes restricted. In some cases blood flow can become completely blocked. Carotid artery disease is the build up of plaque within the arteries that causes blockage of blood flow to the brain.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and when blood flow to the brain is restricted, a person is at a much higher risk for experiencing one. Strokes can be devastating to not only the patient, but also to family and friends. While some functions return within months or years after a stroke, many stroke survivors are left with significant permanent deficits, such as paralysis, the inability to speak, or blindness in one eye.
Unfortunately,the first sign of carotid artery disease is often a permanent stroke. Some patients, however, will experience a “mini-stroke” or transient ischemic attack (TIA) as a sign of carotid artery disease. Research has shown that immediate medical treatment gives a patient a better chance at survival which is whyit is important to recognize the risk factors and symptoms of carotid artery disease.
Risk Factors & Warning Signs
Diagnosis & Treatment