Often, a person experiences no symptoms of neck artery blockage until the artery is completely blocked, resulting in a stroke, explains Healthline. The stroke or transient ischemic attack is accompanied by sudden weakness, numbness and vision problems, dizziness, severe headaches, and trouble speaking and understanding others.
Once the neck artery becomes blocked, blood flow to the brain slows down, resulting in memory problems, difficulty walking, weakness and numbness in one side of the body, and difficulty swallowing, states WebMD. Although these symptoms can clear up in a few minutes or hours, they require medical help. If left untreated, this minor attack can turn into a major stroke.
A neck artery blockage is also known as carotid artery disease, a condition characterized by a buildup of plaque in the carotid artery in the neck, limiting blood flow and causing stroke-like symptoms, according to Healthline. The plaque buildup is made of fat, cholesterol, cellular waste, calcium, proteins and inflammatory cells. Those who smoke, are older in age or obese, or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure are at greater risk for carotid artery disease. Doctors can conduct tests to detect this before the first transient ischemic attack and place the patient in treatment programs.