The carotid arteries are the vessels in the neck that provide vital blood to the brain. You can feel their pulse under the jawline. Should these vessels become narrowed or blocked due to the buildup of plaque, you may have a condition called carotid stenosis. The plaque may slowly block or narrow the carotid artery or cause a clot (thrombus) to form more suddenly. Clots can lead to stroke.
You may not have any symptoms of carotid stenosis. Rather, you may have symptoms of a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (also known as mini-stroke).
Some of these symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Loss of memory
- Loss of sensation
- Problems with speech and language
- Vision loss
- Weakness in one part of your body
Any one of these symptoms is considered an emergency! Call 911 immediately. Although a TIA might only last a few minutes, it is an early warning that a major stroke may happen. More than a third of the people who have had a TIA will later have a stroke. Therefore, everyone who has a TIA needs to seek medical attention immediately to find out why and correct the problem.
Ask your primary care physician about a referral to Prairie Vascular Services.