Carotid Artery Disease

         Basic Facts

  • Carotid artery disease is the narrowing or blockage of the arteries (one on each side of the neck) that supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
  • A primary cause of carotid artery disease is atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of cholesterol and fat (plaque) on the artery walls.
  • Carotid artery disease is a major cause of stroke, which occurs if the blood flow to the brain is interrupted or cut off.
  • Carotid artery disease is a type of peripheral arterial disease, which is blockage of the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the limbs, head and organs.
 

There are two carotid arteries (one on each side of the neck) that supply blood to the front part of the brain, where thinking, speech, personality, and sensory and motor functions reside.

Carotid artery disease is caused by the same factors that contribute to coronary heart disease, but tends to develop later in life. Fewer than one percent of adults in their 50s have significant narrowing of their carotid arteries. But 10 percent of adults in their 80s have extensive narrowing.

Carotid Artery Disease FAQ