Carotid Artery Stenosis
(Internal Carotid Artery Stenosis; Carotid Artery Disease)
DefinitionCarotid artery stenosis occurs when the carotid arteries narrow. The carotid arteries are major arteries found on each side of the neck. They supply blood from the heart to the brain. This condition is a major risk factor for ischemic stroke . Ischemic stroke is when blood flow to the brain is blocked due to blood clots.
|Blood Supply to the Brain|
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CausesCarotid artery stenosis is caused by the build-up of plaque along the lining of the arteries. This build-up is known as atherosclerosis . Plaque is made up of cholesterol, fat, and other substances.
Risk FactorsCarotid artery stenosis is more common in men aged 75 or younger and women aged 75 or older. Risk factors include:
- Family history of atherosclerosis
- Coronary artery disease
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)—disease of the arteries (usually in the legs) caused by fatty build-up
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
SymptomsThere are usually no symptoms. Tell your doctor if you have symptoms of a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA or mini-stroke). This is a warning sign that you may have carotid artery stenosis. Symptoms may include:
- Blindness, blurry or dim vision
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling of the face, arm, leg, or one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking or understanding words
- Lightheadedness, unsteadiness of gait, or falling
- Trouble with balance or coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sudden confusion or loss of memory
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