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What Causes Reduced Blood Flow To The Brain?

Vertebrobasilar circulatory problems cause reduction in the flow of blood towards the back of one’s brain. Because of this, neurologists and other doctors call symptoms related to restricted flow of blood back towards the brain as vertebrobasilar insufficiency, which also include slurred speech and dizziness. Even in case anything that stops or disrupts the flow of blood to a specific area in your body, you suffer from ischemia.

However, when this problem takes place in your brain, it causes damage to the brain cells leading to severe health problems. Thus, to find out key reasons behind reduced flow of blood towards the brain, we have to identify the common causes of Vertebrobasilar circulatory problems, along with its risk factors and complications.

What Causes Reduced Blood Flow To The Brain?

What Causes Reduced Blood Flow To The Brain?

An individual suffers from Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disease or fails to get enough blood supply to the back area of the brain because of many reasons. These include the following-

  • Blockage in the blood vessels
  • Narrowing of brain’s blood vessels
  • Blood vessels of the brain in ruptured form
  • Clotting of blood in the brain

Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disease Due To Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis refers to narrowing of arteries caused mainly because of the buildup of plaque on your arteries’ walls. Arteries are responsible for carrying blood from your heart to remaining parts of your body. They even remain lined with thin layer consists of cells i.e. endothelium to allow for easy flow of the blood. Atherosclerosis takes place with the damage of endothelium to allow the buildup of harmful cholesterol in the artery’s walls. According to neurologists, atherosclerosis is a prime reason behind blockage or narrowing of blood vessels caused due to plaque formation in arteries. Plaque in this case consists of calcium and cholesterol, which results in hardening of your arteries.

Other Reasons To Cause Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disease

Along with Atherosclerosis and other aforementioned reasons, you may suffer from Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disease because of following major health disorders-

  • Heart attack, cardiac arrest or stroke problems
  • Dissection or tear in the walls of arteries
  • Physical trauma or physical injury
  • Diseases associated with connective tissues, like lupus or scleroderma
  • Vasculitis or hypersensitivity vasculitis

Risk Factors To Cause Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disease

Besides the aforementioned major causes associated with the problem of reduced blood flow towards the brain or Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disease, there are a few unavoidable risk factors, which contribute the problem further. Such risk factors of the problem are-

Problem Takes Place Without Any Cause

In some of the instances, the problem of Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disease i.e. reduction in the flow of blood into brain takes place without any underlying cause or strong reason behind it. However, this type of case is a rare one.


To conclude, we should say that the problem of Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disease takes place because of many reasons, as we have discussed here. However, the actual underlying cause varies among patients.


  1. American Heart Association. (2021). Atherosclerosis. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol/atherosclerosis
  2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2021). Atherosclerosis. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/atherosclerosis
  3. Cleveland Clinic. (2021). Cerebrovascular Disease. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17343-cerebrovascular-disease
  4. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Vasculitis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vasculitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20363435
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). High Blood Pressure. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/about.htm

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 22, 2023

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