Vertebral artery occlusions fall under the umbrella of Vertebrobasilar Disease (VBD), otherwise known as Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency (VBI). The condition is defined by inadequate blood flow to the rear section of the brain responsible for coordination, vision, balance, consciousness and other necessary functions. Two separate vertebral arteries, which from the basilar artery, feed in this region. Over time, atherosclerosis causes plaque buildup leading to a blockage of the two arteries. A temporary blockage or severe restriction of blood flow is an ischemic event and holds serious consequences. In other words, vertebral artery occlusions are extremely serious. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or "mini-stroke" causes a temporary loss of brain function, but a full-blown stroke is the next step. Thankfully, there are warning signs and symptoms, as well as treatments, for VBD.
Atherosclerosis is the largest cause of vertebrobasilar insufficiency. It is capable of affecting every artery in the body. Diagnosis of atherosclerosis is both a cause of vertebral artery occlusion and a symptom which may occur quite early in the development of the makes it more than just a cause of a vertebral artery occlusion it makes it a symptom which can occur long before the ultimate event.
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