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Carotid artery stenosis is a disease of the arteries that carry blood to the brain. Stenosis leads to progressive narrowing of the artery and eventual restriction of blood flow to this vital organ. Risk factors for the development of the disease are well recognized and, with lifestyle choices and medical care, carotid stenosis is preventable. The disease is manageable with surgery, medicine, and lifestyle changes. Left untreated, however, carotid artery stenosis can result in stroke, long-term complications, and death.

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1. The Carotid Arteries

Arteries are the blood vessels responsible for transporting oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood from the heart throughout the body. The carotid arteries are located on the right and left sides of the neck and carry blood to the brain, face, and neck. Each artery splits into an external and internal carotid artery. The internal carotid artery, specifically, supplies blood to the frontal lobe of the brain, the region instrumental in cognition, sensory and motor function, and personality.

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