Carotid Stenosis is a narrowing of the carotid arteries. These arteries are the two main arteries that carry oxygen from the heart to the brain. Also called carotid artery disease, this condition is caused by a buildup of plaque in the artery wall that reduces blood flow to the brain. This is a major risk factor for stroke and can lead to brain damage.
Most people have no symptoms, and the first sign of Carotid Stenosis is a mini-stroke. Symptoms of a mini-stroke include weakness or numbness in the arm or leg, difficulty speaking, drooping face, vision problems, or paralysis affecting one side of the body.
First, your doctor may perform a physical exam, and listen to the carotid artery with a stethoscope to detect a swishing noise called a “bruit”. This noise may be a sign of high blood flow. An MRA or CT scan may also be ways a doctor can diagnose this type of condition.
Normally, people that have no symptoms are treated with medications that help blood flow pass more easily through the arteries. Surgeries, like a Carotid Endarterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the plaque from the clogged artery. This type of treatment is usually for patients that usually have more than 50% of blockage.