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Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid Artery Disease is the build-up of plaque on the inside of the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the head and body. Over time, the build-up narrows the artery, decreasing blood flow to the brain which can lead to a stroke.

There may not be any symptoms of carotid artery disease. A transient ischemic attack (also called TIA or “mini-stroke”) is one of the most important warning signs of a stroke. A TIA is a temporary episode of:
  • Blurred or loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Weakness and/or numbness of your arm, leg or face on one side of your body
  • Slurring of speech, difficulty talking or understanding what others are saying
  • Loss of coordination, dizziness or confusion
  • Trouble swallowing
Tests to diagnose this condition include:
Carotid Duplex Ultrasound – A procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to view the blood vessels in the neck to determine the presence of narrowing in the carotid arteries.

Computerized Tomography (CT Scan)  – A CT of the brain may be performed if there is a possibility a stroke has already occurred. This test will reveal areas of damage on the brain.