Harvard Men's Health Watch

The crucial, controversial carotid artery Part I: The artery in health and disease

The carotid arteries supply the brain with blood. Carotid artery disease occurs when these arteries are narrowed and blood flow can be interrupted. Brief interruptions of blood flow to the brain cause transient ischemic attacks (TIAs); prolonged or complete blockages are the major cause of cerebrovascular accidents — strokes. TIA or "mini-strokes" are often a warning sign of a major stroke, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Detecting and treating a narrowed carotid artery is the best way to prevent TIAs and strokes.
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