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Auckland Regional Vascular Services

Public Service, Vascular Surgery

Carotid Artery Disease

You have two carotid arteries, one on either side of your neck, that supply blood to your brain.  Carotid artery disease occurs if these arteries become narrowed due to atherosclerosis (a build up of fat and cholesterol deposits on the inner walls of the vessels).  If a clot forms in one of the carotid arteries and reduces or stops the flow of blood to part of your brain, it may cause a stroke.

You have an increased risk of developing carotid artery disease if you:

  • have a family history of atherosclerosis
  • smoke
  • have high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • have diabetes
  • have coronary artery disease.

Treatment may involve lifestyle changes e.g. stopping smoking, exercising more, dietary changes and/or medication.  If there is severe narrowing of the arteries, treatment may involve surgery.

This page was last updated at 2:04PM on June 21, 2021.