Carotid Artery Disease may progress silently for years without symptoms (asymptomatic), at least for its early stages.
The first symptom may be a warning transient ischemic attack (mini stroke – temporary brain damage) or a stroke (permanent brain damage).
Both the transient ischemic attack and the stroke can manifest with similar symptoms.
The only difference is that the transient ischemic attack symptoms will last for a few minutes to a few hours, while the stroke symptoms may be permanent.
The area of the brain that suffered the loss of blood flow will determine what the physical or mental symptoms may be. These include:
• Temporary loss of vision or blurred vision (amaurosis)
• Inability to speak clearly or slurred speech (aphasia)
• Sudden weakness or clumsiness of an arm and/or leg on one side of the body
• Sudden paralysis (inability to move) of an arm and/or leg on one side of the body
• Loss of balance
• Numbness or loss of sensation (feeling) in the face
• Numbness or loss of sensation in an arm and/or leg
• Confusion, dizziness, fainting, headache
• Memory loss
• Emotional disturbance
Sudden-onset of any of these symptoms is a medical emergency.
If it is a transient ischemic attack, it may be a warning sign that a stroke is about to occur and it is impossible to predict how it will progress.
If it is a stroke, seeking medical help promptly, will allow immediate treatment that can be life-saving and/or increase the chance of a full recovery.
Recovery depends on the size and location of the stroke as well as the promptness of re-establishment of the brain's blood supply.