Symptom of a blocked artery in the neck

When you hear people speak of a blocked artery in the neck, they're most likely referring to one of the two carotid arteries, which are the arteries that actually carry blood directly to your brain. These blood vessels are just as susceptible to blockage, or the development of plague, as any other vessel in your body. If this were to happen, blood flow to your brain will become restricted, prompting a number of unsettling and sometimes life-altering symptoms.


One of the first signs you might experience when suffering from a blocked artery in the neck is almost sudden weakness, according to the Mayo Clinic. This weakness will usually be isolated to either the right or left side of the body. It could affect one side of your face, one of your arms or one of your legs. This particular symptom may also manifest in the form of a numbness or even paralysis to these same areas of the body.


Another symptom you may encounter when suffering from a blocked artery in the neck could involve your ability to speak. This symptom may present itself in a number of different ways. You may start to slur your speech, muddle your speech or garble your speech. It all depends on the person how this symptom will manifest. For some people, it can be fairly mild and almost unnoticeable. For others, it can be relatively severe and quite obvious that something is wrong.

Cognitive Disturbance

Sometimes, a blocked artery in the neck may present a symptom that wouldn't necessarily be perceptible to others, as it involves your cognitive capacity. Since the blockage or plaque is restricting or preventing the proper blood flow to the brain, you can begin to find it rather difficult to actually understand conversations that are going on around you.


For some people, a blocked artery in the neck may prompt an abrupt and unexpected disruption to their sight. If you were to manifest this symptom, it will usually come about as blindness isolated to either the right or left eye. Very rarely will this blindness affect both eyes of a person with this sort of blockage.


Given that the blockage within this artery has developed and worsened slowly, you may actually suffer from what is called a TIA, or transient ischemic attack. This event is like a stroke, only smaller and less severe. If you were to experience a TIA, you will usually suffer from weakness or paralysis to one side of your body, a slurred speech, dizziness or lightheadedness and a loss of balance. A transient ischemic attack should be considered a warning sign that you not only have a blockage within the carotid artery, but also that you could soon have a stroke, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.