Signs & Symptoms of Carotid Artery Blockage

Risk Factors and Diagnostic Tools There are several factors that increase the risk of developing carotid artery disease, including smoking, high cholesterol, high alcohol consumption, obesity, high blood pressure, lack of exercise and a family history. Doctors use several diagnostic tools like Doppler ultrasound imaging, magnetic resonance angiography, oculoplethysmography and arteriography and digital subtraction angiography. Surgery, medicines and transcatheter interventions are all used to treat the disease. Paralysis/Tingling A symptom of carotid artery blockage is weakness or paralysis, specifically of the arm, leg, face or one side of your body. Another symptom is numbness of your arm, leg or face on one side of your body. This is due to a lack of blood flow to that side of the body. Loss of Eyesight Sometimes what begins as blurry vision will quickly turn into a loss of eyesight. The loss of eyesight occurs on the side where the carotid artery is blocked, and blood flow is reduced. Dizziness Dizziness, fainting or confusion are also common symptoms. This occurs when the artery is blocked and the brain cannot get enough oxygen or blood, causing such a symptom. Trouble Swallowing Trouble swallowing also signals carotid artery disease. This is caused by pressure from the blocked artery, putting pressure on the nerves that enable one to swallow and, in some cases, damaging the nerve. Treatment Carotid artery disease is treated several ways, including blood thinning medications such as aspirin to help prevent blood clots. Medication to lower blood pressure is also often prescribed. Surgery is often an option to remove the blocked section of the artery. Lifestyle Changes Following a carotid artery blockage, a doctor may order lifestyle changes for an individual in addition to medications. These changes may include daily exercise, a decrease in salt intake, limited amount of alcohol and no smoking.

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