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Vertebral Artery Disease

The vertebral artery supplies the brain. Vertebral artery disease, or VAD, can reduce or cut off the blood supply to the brain. It also can result in small pieces (emboli) breaking off and blocking other arteries to the brain or eye. When blood supply to the brain is interrupted, it causes a stroke – the 3rd-leading cause of death in the country.

Vertebral artery disease symptoms

One sign of stroke is a transient ischemic attack or TIA. Symptoms can be very short or last as long as 24 hours. You should seek emergency help for the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness, sometimes during arm exercises
  • Double vision

Vertebral artery disease risks

You are at greater risk for the disease if you have atherosclerosis – when the blood vessels become narrowed or clogged by fatty or cholesterol deposits called plaque. You also are at greater risk if you have peripheral artery disease or PAD. Other risk factors:

  • Age and gender: Men are at higher risk before age 75, and women are at higher risk after 75
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of this problem
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Tobacco use: Smoking dramatically increases your risk
  • Race or ethnicity: African American and Hispanic people are at greater risk
Doctor shaking patient's hand.

Vertebral artery disease treatment

Physicians at The University of Kansas Health System use the most advanced and latest techniques to guide treatment of vascular disease.

Review the treatment options

We offer a variety of appointment types. Learn more or call 913-588-1227 to schedule now.