What Is Carotid Stenosis?
Carotid stenosis is frequently called carotid artery disease. When the two major arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain narrow due to buildup of fatty deposits called plaque this is called atherosclerosis. The narrowing reduces blood flow to the brain, which is called stenosis.
If blood flow is reduced for a period of time a transient ischemic attack (TIA) may occur. If the blood flow is blocked a stroke may occur. The treatment called a carotid endarterectomy removes the plaque buildup and prevents blood clots.
Many people have no symptoms until the artery becomes severely narrowed or a clot forms. Symptoms are most likely to first appear as a mini-stroke, called a transient ischemic attack or a TIA. Symptoms of a TIA can include weakness or numbness in an arm or leg, difficulty speaking, a drooping face, vision problems, or paralysis affecting one side of the body, you should call 911 if this occurs.
Atherosclerosis begins with damage to the inner wall of the artery caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and high cholesterol –specifically “bad” cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Other risk factors include obesity, coronary artery disease, a family history of carotid stenosis, and advanced age.
Older people are most likely to be affected, before age 75, men are more likely at risk than women.