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Conditions We Treat
What Comes Next? Managing CAD and Other Risks

Carotid artery disease: is also known as carotid artery stenosis. This term refers to a narrowing of the carotid arteries, which is usually caused by the buildup of calcium or fatty substances and cholesterol deposits, called plaque. Carotid artery occlusion refers to complete blockage of the artery. Some risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use, high blood cholesterol and other modifiable risk factors.

Carotid artery disease develops slowly. The first sign that you have the condition may be a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA is a temporary shortage of blood flow to your brain. When the carotid arteries are obstructed, you are also at an increased risk for a stroke. Stroke deprives your brain of oxygen. Stroke is the most common cause of death and the leading cause of permanent disability in the United States.

Symptoms: In early stages, carotid artery disease often doesn’t produce signs or symptoms. The condition may go unnoticed until it’s serious enough to deprive your brain of blood, causing a stroke or TIA.

Signs and symptoms of a stroke or TIA include:

Seek emergency care if you experience any signs or symptoms of stroke. Even if they last only a short while and then you feel normal, see a provider right away. You may have experienced a TIA, an important sign that you’re at risk of a full-blown stroke.

Risk factors: Factors that increase your risk of carotid artery disease include:


Treatment of carotid artery disease usually involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medication and sometimes surgery. To prevent or slow the progression of carotid artery disease, consider these suggestions: