The first symptom of carotid artery disease is usually a stroke or a mini-stroke called a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A stroke happens when a blood clot breaks away from plaque and blocks blood flowing to your brain. A TIA is similar, but the clot only blocks blood flow for a short time, so it usually doesn’t cause permanent damage.
TIA symptoms include:
- A sudden, severe headache
- Being unable to move one or more of your limbs
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Feeling confused
- Having trouble speaking or understanding what people are saying
- Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
- Sudden weakness or numbness in your face or limbs, often on one side of your body
Strokes can cause the same symptoms, as well as drooping in your face.
If you or someone you love has any of these symptoms, call 911. Treating a TIA can help prevent a stroke. And treating a stroke quickly can reduce your risk of long-term damage.