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Carotid Artery Disease

About Your Care and Condition

Carotid artery disease can block blood flow to your brain, increasing your risk of stroke. If you smoke, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it's even more important to make sure your carotid arteries are clear.

Carotid artery disease, also called carotid artery stenosis, occurs when the carotid arteries, the main blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the brain, become narrowed. Usually, the carotid arteries become narrowed due to atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque, which is a deposit of fatty substances, cholesterol, and other cells in the inner lining of an artery.

Just as blocked arteries in the heart can cause a heart attack, blocked arteries to the brain can cause a stroke.