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About Heart Disease

Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid Artery Disease is the leading cause of ischemic stroke. The two carotid arteries (one on each side of the neck) are the major vessels supplying blood to the brain. When these arteries become diseased, plaque can build up and narrow the arteries reducing blood flow to the brain. A stoke occurs when plaque breaks loose or a blood clot forms and breaks loose and travels to the brain, interrupting blood flow. This interruption of blood flow to the brain causes brain cells to die.


There are often no warning signs or symptoms of carotid artery disease. Occasionally, carotid artery disease can be detected on physical examination by detecting an abnormal blood flow sound over the carotid arteries. Carotid artery disease can easily be detected by several imaging tests including ultrasound imaging.


Carotid Artery Disease is a form of vascular disease caused by atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries”. Risk factors for the development of carotid artery disease include:

  • high blood pressure
  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol levels
  • obesity
  • physical inactivity
  • age
  • family history of vascular disease

The presence of carotid artery disease can be detected by several imaging tests but is most commonly detected by non-invasive ultrasound imaging. SafeHeart Health Screens Health Screens utilizes ultrasound imaging to detect the presence of carotid artery disease.