The carotid artery is an overarching term applied to
the major arteries of the neck that supply blood to the head and brain from the
heart. The term carotid, as applied to these arteries, stems from the common
carotid artery, of which there are two on either side of the body. The
offshoots of these arteries bring oxygenated blood throughout the face, head,
and brain to ensure that the body is able to perform normally.
The carotid artery is responsible for supplying oxygenated blood to the neck, head and brain and the related superficial and internal structures of those parts of the body. The carotid arteries, as there are six - two common, two external, and two internal - pump this blood from the heart to these parts of the body to allow for normal function. The carotid artery is also one of the several locations at which a physician can take a person's pulse.
The external carotid artery is an extension of the common carotid artery after it bifurcates into two separate vessels; the other being the internal carotid artery. The external carotid artery is a paired structure meaning that there is one on either side of the body. This artery is responsible for bringing blood to the superficial features of the head while also supplying oxygenated blood to other branches which delve deeper into the cranium.
The internal carotid artery is an extension of the common carotid artery after it divides. This vessel is paired structure as there is an internal carotid artery on both sides of the body to ensure that oxygenated blood reaches the many features of the head and brain. This artery has seven segments related to the different features in encounters on its route as it supplies blood throughout the head.
Carotid artery disease, or carotid artery stenosis, is a condition that affects the common, external, and internal carotid arteries due to a hardening of the tissue within the blood vessels. This hardening is caused by the build up of plaque and fatty acids in the artery which then restricts the flow of oxygenated blood to the head and brain. The most common result of carotid artery disease is stroke due to the lack of blood supply to the brain.
The common carotid artery is one the major arteries of the body as it is responsible for the transportation of blood to the neck, head and brain. There are two within the body, with one on either side of the neck to ensure that blood reaches each part of the head and neck. While the common carotid artery can be found in relatively the same place on either side of the neck, the part of the body from which it originates differs depending on which side it is located.
Carotid artery dissection is a condition that occurs as the lining, or tissues, of the carotid arteries begin to separate and fill with blood. As the blood fills this new space, it begins to restrict the passage through which blood would otherwise flow and may result in a stroke and other health problems. Carotid artery dissection may occur in one or both of the common carotid arteries of the neck, however, the risk of having this condition is higher in the internal carotid arteries.