Your carotid arteries are a pair of blood vessels inside your neck that deliver blood to your brain and head. Carotid artery disease results from the build-up of waxy deposits, called plaques, over the inner surface of the arteries.
These plaques can eventually decrease or block the blood supply to your brain, and may lead to a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as “mini-stroke”. A “mini-stroke” occurs when a blood clot temporarily obstructs an artery that supplies blood to the brain.
Carotid artery disease is responsible for 20% – 30% of all strokes.
Carotid artery disease may result in no symptoms. The build-up of the plaques can go unnoticed and may result in a TIA. If you experience a TIA, your chances of experiencing a stroke increase by tenfold.
The symptoms of a TIA are temporary (may last for a few minutes to a few hours), and they include any of the following:
It is crucial that you seek emergency help to receive immediate treatment in order to prevent the progression to a stroke.
The causes of carotid artery disease include:
Stroke is the most common complication of carotid artery disease. A stroke can lead to: