Strokes, TIA and Carotid Artery Disease

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A stroke happens when a blood clot blocks an artery to or in the brain.

A Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) is a small stroke that resolves within 24 hours.

Carotid Artery Disease occurs when a plaque builds up up in your carotid arteries, which are found in your neck.

What is Strokes, TIA and Carotid Artery Disease?



There are two main types of stroke: ischaemic and haemorrhagic. In the West, 80% of strokes are ischaemic.


A high proportion of ischaemic strokes results from embolisation (a blood clot forming in one place, breaking off and lodging in another site) from diseased carotid arteries in the neck.  The carotid arteries in the neck supply the brain, and they are prone to localised plaque formation.  Small blood clots form on the surface of the rough plaque then break off and lodge in the brain.  This gives rise to different symptoms depending on how large the blockage is and which part of the brain it ends up in. A stroke can cause paralysis on the opposite side to the damaged artery. Strokes lasting less than 3 weeks are said to be transient strokes

 while those persisting after 3 weeks are established strokes, and subsequent recovery may be good, moderate or poor. 



What part of the body does it affect?

While strokes take place in the brain, the effects can be seen throughout the body, although often only on one side of the body. 

What are the symptoms?

You may well have seen the campaign around recognising the symptoms of strokes using the FAST acronym. This stands for Face (facial weakness); Arm (arm weakness); Speech (speech disturbance) and T (Time) but there are two other symptoms to watch for, leg weakness and temporary blindness in one eye.


For more information about FAST, click HERE. 

What are the treatment options?

Is the condition preventable? If so, how?

The best ways to lower your risk of stroke are by stopping smoking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Your doctor may also be able to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and offer you aspirin or statins. 



What should I do next?

We have a lot more information about Carotid Artery Disease in our Knowledge Bank. For more information contact The London Vascular Clinic. 

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