The most apparent signs and symptoms of a carotid artery blockage include a transient ischemic attack, bruit and a stroke, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Other symptoms may be weakness, numbness or paralysis in certain body parts, trouble swallowing, problems with eyesight, dizziness, confusion, fainting or coma, according to Surgical Associates of Texas.
A transient ischemic attack, also known as a mini-stroke, is usually the first sign of carotid artery disease. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explains that mini-stroke symptoms, which may go away after 24 hours, include sudden weakness or numbness in the face or limbs on one side, inability to move one or more limbs, trouble speaking, trouble seeing, dizziness or a sudden and severe headache. A stroke is just like a mini-stroke, except the results are more permanent. Blindness, paralysis, long-term disability or even death result from lack of blood to the brain. Getting treatment for stroke symptoms as soon as possible increases chances of a full recovery.
Bruit is a whooshing sound detected by a doctor using a stethoscope against the carotid artery. The sound suggests blood flow through the artery has changed or been reduced because of plaque buildup, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. A doctor may do more tests, such as an ultrasound or other imaging detection method, to determine if the artery has blockage, notes Surgical Associates of Texas.