Carotid (ka-ROT-id) artery disease, which can lead to a stroke, is a condition in which a fatty material called plaque (plak) builds up inside the carotid arteries. You have two common carotid arteries—one on each side of your neck—that divide into internal and external carotid arteries.The internal carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain. The external carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your face, scalp, and neck. Carotid artery disease can be very serious because it can cause a stroke, or “brain attack.” A stroke occurs when blood flow to your brain is cut off. If blood flow is cut off for more than a few minutes, the cells in your brain start to die. This impairs the parts of the body that the brain cells control. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, paralysis (an inability to move), or death.
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