To find a doctor, call 800-667-5356 or click below:

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

left banner
right banner
Smaller Larger

Signs and Symptoms

Most Do Not Have Symptoms

Unfortunately, carotid artery disease may not cause any signs or symptoms until the arteries are badly blocked. As a result, for some people, the first sign of the disease may be a stroke.

Warning Signs of Stroke

There are warning signs of stroke, however. A transient ischemic attack, or TIA, is a "mini-stroke." A TIA occurs as a result of temporary reduction in the blood flow to the brain. Symptoms of a TIA typically may last for only a few minutes but can be present for as long as 24 hours:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the face, or in one arm or leg
  • Inability to control the movement of an arm or leg
  • Loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Inability to speak clearly
  • Dizziness or confusion

Immediate Treatment is Critical

These symptoms typically go away within 24 hours. However, you should not ignore them. A TIA can progress into a major stroke. If you experience symptoms of a TIA, you should call 911 immediately. If such symptoms persist after 24 hours, you have probably suffered a stroke. Even if a TIA does not progress into a major stroke, it is a strong predictor of future strokes. If you have experienced a TIA, you are 10 times more likely to suffer a major stroke than someone who has not had a TIA.

If you suffer a stroke, it is critical that you get treatment immediately. It is very important to get treatment within one hour of the start of symptoms. Without quick treatment, a stroke can result in permanent brain damage, long-term disability, paralysis or death.

Contact Information

Cardiovascular Medicine
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617-667-8800

RELATED LINKS