Carotid arteries are the arteries that supply the brain with oxygen and nutrients. There are two carotid arteries, one on either side of your neck that provide blood to the brain, neck and face.
Carotid arteries can become clogged and blocked with plaque, just like other arteries in your body. However, if blood flow through the carotid arteries is limited, the brain may not receive sufficient amounts of oxygen and nutrients and there is a higher chance of stroke.
Plaque in the carotid arteries may indicate that other arteries, such as the coronary and peripheral arteries, may also contain plaque. When blood flow through an artery is decreased or blocked, the amount of blood, oxygen and nutrients that reach the tissues decreases, causing damage. The type of damage that occurs depends on the location of the blocked artery. If one or more coronary arteries are blocked, your risk of a heart attack or stroke are increased. If arteries in your arms or legs are affected, peripheral artery disease may be present.
The best way to protect your heart is to know the signs of coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attack and peripheral artery disease. Some lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of heart disease are listed below:
- Exercise regularly and stay active
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that contains fish oil and is low in cholesterol, sugar, salt and unhealthy foods
- Quit smoking
- Take care of your teeth
- Sleep for 7 hours a night
- Work shorter hours, if possible, and reduce stress
- Learn more about the American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations
- Learn more about Tips for Successful Doctor Visits after a Heart Disease Diagnosis
- Learn 5 Tips to Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
- Subscribe to our blog to stay informed about heart and cardiovascular health