Carotid artery is two large blood arteries on either side of neck which supply blood to the brain. Carotid artery blockage occurs when these large blood vessels are blocked by plaques or atherosclerosis. The condition in medical terminology is called carotid artery stenosis.
Carotid artery blockage is a leading cause for stroke.
Following are the risk factors for developing carotid artery blockage: a person having high blood pressure, increased level of cholesterol, growing age, diabetes, increased mental stress, tobacco smoking, and obesity.
Cause of Carotid Artery Blockage
The main cause of blockage is due to formation of plaque in the carotid arteries, it is a result of increased level of cholesterol in the blood added with ageing factor. The above mentioned risk factors play an important role in plaque formation and narrowing of carotid artery.
Symptoms of Carotid Artery Blockage
- Hissing sound in ear with each heartbeat.
- Brief attacks of blindness or flashing of light.
- Palpation of the carotid artery in the neck may reveal diminished pulsation and more important sign known as bruit.
- Severe headache
- Sudden but temporary numbness of extremities and face.
- Transient ischemic attacks: temporary paralysis for few seconds.
Treatment of Carotid Artery Blockage
Treatment depends on the symptoms caused by carotid artery blockage.
- Long term use of blood thinning medicines to reduce cholesterol.
- Anticoagulants for a long term to prevent a major stroke.
- Stop tobacco smoking and modifying life style.
- Carotid angioplasty if the symptoms demands.