Ask The Doctor > Questions & Answers > Middle aged woman with Vertebro Basilar insufficiency

Middle aged woman with Vertebro Basilar insufficiency

Patient: T I don’t want to do anything to cause one either. Should I take a leave of absence until my risk factors are more under control? Any advise I can get would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

Doctor: The Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency or Posterior circulation ischemia are conditions in which the blood supply to the bac ck of the brain is disrupted. The vertebrobasilar system is also called the back (posterior) circulation of the brain. This part of the brain contains structures that are crucial for keeping a person alive. For instance, the brainstem controls breathing and swallowing, among other things. Parts of the brain help with vision (occipital lobes) and movement coordination (cerebellum) are also located in the back of the brain. Many different conditions may cause blood flow in the back part of the brain to be reduced or stopped. The most common cause is a  stroke due to hardening of the arteries ( atherosclerosis). The test used to diagnose this condition depend on the underlying cause, for example: CT or MRI of the brain, blood tests including clotting studies, echocardiogram, ECG, holter monitor. The sudden onset of this condition is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment, it may manifest as a TIA or a Stroke. The treatment options include: diet changes and medications to keep cholesterol and blood pressure under control. Blood thinning medications to lower the risk of stroke (aspirin, warfarin, clopidogrel, etc). The outlook depends in part on the underlying cause. Strokes are potentially life threatening, and require urgent medical care. Age and the person’s overall health are taken into consideration when determining one’s outlook for recovery. A substantial recovery can be expected in younger patients who have no significant medical problems.Recovery also depends on the area of the brain that has been affected. The outlook is very poor when the patient is in a coma or cannot move both arms and legs. Prevention factors play a key role in this kind of condition, for example: quit smoking, getting regular exercise, controlling blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol, and of course follow a healthy diet.

 


 

 
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Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Toronto. He currently operates Infinity Health Centre, a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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