In its early stages, carotid artery disease often doesn't produce any signs or symptoms. The condition may go unnoticed until it's serious enough to deprive your brain of blood, causing a stroke or TIA.
Signs and symptoms of a stroke or TIA include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face or limbs, often on only one side of the body
- Sudden trouble speaking and understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden dizziness or loss of balance
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
When to see a doctor
Seek emergency care if you experience any signs or symptoms of stroke. Even if they last only a short while and then you feel normal, see a doctor right away. You may have experienced TIA, an important sign that you're at risk of a full-blown stroke.
Talk to your doctor if you have risk factors for carotid artery disease. Even if you don't have any signs or symptoms, your doctor may recommend aggressive management of your risk factors to protect you from stroke. Seeing a doctor early increases your chances that carotid artery disease will be found and treated before a disabling stroke occurs.