There may not be symptoms of carotid artery disease until your arteries are very blocked. Your first signs of carotid artery disease may be a mini-stroke (also called a transient ischemic attack or TIA) or a stroke.
Signs of a TIA or stroke include:
Call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency room if you notice these signs in you or somebody you’re with. Timely care is critical for limiting long-term damage when it comes to stroke.
You’re at higher risk for carotid artery disease if you smoke, have diabetes, or have high blood pressure.
To diagnose carotid artery disease, your doctor will begin with a complete physical exam and discussing your medical history and symptoms. Screenings and tests may also be recommended, including an ultrasound – a painless imaging test that helps doctors determine your risk for stroke based on how much blockage is present.
A CT scan or MRI may also reveal signs of a blockage or a stroke.
If your arteries are only blocked slightly, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes and medication.
Other treatment options for carotid artery disease include: