Carotid artery disease occurs when fatty, waxy deposits called plaques clog your carotid arteries. Your carotid arteries are a pair of blood vessels that deliver blood to your brain and head. The buildup of plaques in these arteries blocks the blood supply to your brain and increases your risk of stroke.

Because carotid artery disease develops slowly and often goes unnoticed, the first outward clue that you have the condition may be a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes referred to as a ministroke.

Treatment of carotid artery disease usually involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medications and, in some cases, surgery or a stenting procedure.

Oct. 01, 2011