Symptoms of a blockage in the carotid vein or artery include sudden vision problems, severe headaches and trouble speaking, says Healthline. Other symptoms include numbness and weakness in the face or limbs on one side of the body, and the feeling of heaviness in the arms and legs.
A blockage in the carotid artery itself is often asymptomatic or has no obvious symptoms, but the symptoms occur when the blockage causes a transient ischemic attack or a mini-stroke, explains Healthline. This blockage, known as carotid artery disease, occurs when plaque builds up in the artery, restricting blood flow. The plaque is formed from fat, cholesterol, proteins, calcium and cellular waste. A person who has high blood pressure or high cholesterol is more susceptible to this disease.
Doctors can detect carotid artery disease through physical exams, ultrasounds, CTA and CT scans, and MRA before a person shows symptoms or experiences the first mini-stroke, according to Healthline. An individual can treat this disease by not smoking if he is a smoker, losing weight, getting on a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking necessary medications. If the individual has already suffered from a mini-stroke, these treatments can help to prevent any more mini-strokes and major strokes, says WebMD.