The disease may have no symptoms. In some cases, the first sign of the disease is a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke.
A TIA is a sudden, short-term loss of blood flow to a part of the brain. It usually lasts a few minutes to an hour. Symptoms go away fully within 24 hours. There are no lasting effects. When symptoms continue, it is a stroke. Symptoms of a TIA or stroke may include:
- Sudden weakness or clumsiness of an arm or leg on one side of the body.
- Sudden paralysis of an arm or leg on one side of the body.
- Loss of coordination or movement.
- Confusion, loss of ability to concentrate.
- Dizziness, fainting, or headache.
- Numbness or loss of feeling in the face or in an arm or leg.
- Temporary loss of vision or blurred vision.
- Inability to speak clearly or slurred speech.
If you or a loved one has any of these symptoms, call for medical help right away. A TIA may be a warning sign that a stroke is about to occur. But TIAs don't precede all strokes.
The symptoms of a TIA and stroke are the same. A stroke is loss of blood flow (ischemia) to the brain that lasts long enough to cause brain damage. Brain cells start to die after just a few minutes without oxygen.
- The effects after a stroke depends on the size and place in the brain that had loss of blood flow. This may include problems with:
- Bowel and bladder function.
- Emotional control.
- Other vital body functions.
Recovery also depends on the size and location of the stroke. A stroke may result in long-term problems, such as weakness in an arm or leg. It may cause paralysis, loss of speech, or even death.
The symptoms of carotid artery disease may look like other health problems. See your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.