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Carotid Artery Disease OR CAD

Carotid artery disease occurs when the major arteries in your neck become narrowed or blocked. These arteries, called the carotid arteries, supply your brain with blood. Your carotid arteries extend from your aorta in your chest to the brain inside your skull.

  • Carotid arteries are two main arteries that carry blood from your heart, up through your neck, to your brain.
  • Carotid artery disease results when the carotid arteries become too narrow or obstructed from plaque and limit the blood flow to the brain.
  • Strokes result either from obstruction of blood flow to the brain by the plaque or when bits of plaque and clots break off from the plaque and flow to the brain.
  • Stroke remains the third leading cause of death in the U.S. with nearly 157,000 people dying annually.
  • A large proportion of strokes are caused by plaque in the carotid arteries.
  • In 2006 it was estimated that Americans would pay about $57.9 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability.

Severe carotid artery disease raises a persons risk for stroke. Interventions can be done to remove the blockage with surgery or to open up the artery with a stent. The vascular specialist can determine when intervention is appropriate and which intervention is best for the patient.

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