Vertebrobasilar insufficiency occurs if the blood flow in the arteries of the vertebrobasilar system is drastically reduced. It is important to note that the vertebrobasilar arterial system is found in the rear of the brain and includes the basilar and vertebral arteries. These arteries provide oxygen, blood and nutrients to important brain sections such as the occipital lobes, brainstem and cerebellum.
If atherosclerosis develops, it can lessen or stop the flow of blood in any artery in the body including the vertebrobasilar system.
What is the cause?
Vertebrobasilar insufficiency occurs if the blood flow to the rear part of the brain is reduced or ceases. Take note that atherosclerosis is the main cause.
What are the indications?
The signs of vertebrobasilar insufficiency are based on the seriousness of the condition. Some of the symptoms might last for a few minutes and some can be lasting.
The usual signs include:
- Double vision
- Loss of vision is one or both eyes
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Slurred speech
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- Abrupt, significant weakness all over the body which is called as drop attack
- Alterations in the mental status such as loss of consciousness or confusion
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of coordination and balance
- Weakness in a region of the body
The symptoms might come and go. It is best to seek emergency care if any of these are present.
Management of vertebrobasilar insufficiency
The doctor might suggest various treatment options based on the seriousness of the symptoms. Some of the lifestyle changes include:
- Cessation of smoking
- Active lifestyle
- Changes in the diet to regulate the cholesterol levels
- Cutting down weight if overweight or obese
In addition, the doctor might prescribe drugs to lower the risk for lasting damage or stroke. These medications might:
- Control the blood pressure
- Thin out the blood
- Control diabetes
- Lower the cholesterol levels
- Lessen the coagulation of blood
In some instances, the doctor might suggest surgery to reinstate the flow of blood to the back of the brain. There are cases in which bypass surgery or endarterectomy might be suggested options.