Carotid artery disease often causes no noticeable symptoms, but a severe artery blockage may trigger a transient ischemic attack, commonly known as a mini stroke, Cleveland Clinic states. Symptoms associated with TIA include slurred speech, vision loss, confusion, dizziness, and weakness on one side of the face or body. Some individuals also experience difficulty swallowing, loss of coordination and impaired speech comprehension. A TIA is a high-risk warning sign for a major stroke.
Carotid artery disease is the narrowing of the carotid arteries in the neck that carry blood between the aorta and the brain, according to VascularWeb. Healthy carotid arteries have smooth interior tissue, but plaque can build up in these delicate passageways and cause the arteries to harden. The inside of the arteries becomes rough, narrow and obstructed, preventing normal blood flow to the brain. A TIA is a sign that an artery has a major blockage. Although symptoms typically last less than an hour and no more than one day, the condition requires immediate medical attention. If TIA symptoms persist beyond 24 hours, the individual may have suffered a stroke.
People with a family history of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, have a higher risk of developing carotid artery disease, according to Cleveland Clinic. Other risk factors include age, obesity, smoking and sedentary lifestyles, and people with diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure are also susceptible.