Which symptoms can be used to recognize circulatory disorders in the brain?


Circulatory disorders in the brain are a common disease, especially older patients are affected. If a blood vessel in the brain closes due to a circulatory disorder, it is called a stroke.
The symptoms can be very diverse and are not always easy to see, even for doctors. But there are warning signs that indicate poor blood flow to the brain.

Typical symptoms of a circulatory disorder in the brain

  • sudden disturbances in consciousness
  • Impairment of memory performance (forgetfulness to dementia)
  • Sensory disturbances (tingling, numbness) and
  • Impairment of motor skills (muscle weakness up to complete paralysis of one extremity or side of the body)
  • Visual disturbances (double vision, blurred vision) up to complete loss of vision
  • Speech disorders (articulation disorders, word finding disorders) up to loss of language
  • Dizziness with gait disorders and impaired coordination
  • Fatigue and
  • Poor concentration
  • Headache and
  • concomitant neurological symptoms such as epileptic seizures


Circulatory disorders in the brain are particularly common in older patients and can manifest themselves through a wide variety of symptoms. For example, one symptom is forgetfulness. It is often very difficult to distinguish between normal old age forgetfulness and forgetfulness caused by circulatory disorders.

A visit to the neurologist is therefore useful. This can carry out various neuropsychological tests and trigger imaging of the brain to determine whether the forgetfulness has occurred in the context of circulatory disorders in the brain. An ultrasound of the carotid artery is also useful to assess the risk of arteriosclerosis.

Also read our topics:

  • Poor concentration
  • arteriosclerosis


Dementia can also be caused by disorders of the blood flow in the brain. One then speaks of vascular dementia.

The hypothesis behind this is that the circulatory disorders led to many small, unnoticed (silent) strokes. As a result, the nerve cells in these regions of the brain that are no longer supplied with blood die. This has a lasting effect on brain performance and ultimately leads to dementia.

In addition to Alzheimer's disease, circulatory disorders in the brain are a very common cause of dementia.

Read on below: Signs of dementia

Sensory disturbances

Circulatory disorders in the brain always lead to an impairment of the nerve cell function. If regions in the brain that are responsible for sensitivity are affected, disturbances in this area can lead to numbness or tingling.

Usually the other side of the body is then affected. With circulatory disorders in the left hemisphere of the brain, tingling or numbness often occurs on the right side of the body. It does not always have to affect the entire side of the body, it can only affect the upper or lower extremity.

You may also be interested in this topic: Signs of stroke

Visual disturbances

Vision problems can have numerous causes. In addition to eye diseases, it can also be due to diseases of the optic nerve. But circulatory disorders in the brain also cause visual disturbances. Often these are short-term episodes with loss of vision. In technical terms, this is Amaurosis fugax called. Usually only one eye is affected. In addition to complete loss of vision, double vision and visual field defects can occur.

In most cases, other symptoms such as tingling in the face or weakness of the facial muscles occur in the case of circulatory disorders in the brain. Speech disorders are also possible. In this case, the diagnosis of neurological disease is pretty straightforward.

A suspicion of circulatory disorders in the brain as part of a stroke is always an emergency. The patient should see a doctor immediately and be cared for in a special stroke unit. Eye diseases can still be ruled out in the next step.

Also read our articles:

  • Circulatory disorders in the eye
  • Arterial occlusion of the eye


Fatigue is a very common symptom. It can have numerous causes.
First and foremost, when one is tired, one thinks of anemia (anemia) due to an iron deficiency or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

Nevertheless, one should also think of circulatory disorders in the brain. The lack of oxygen limits the function of the nerve cells in the brain. The brain performance decreases continuously. This also causes unspecific symptoms such as fatigue, exhaustion and difficulty concentrating. There can also be a depressive component.

Learn more about this at: Fatigue - what's behind it?

Poor concentration

A lack of concentration can definitely indicate circulatory disorders in the brain. Of course, a harmless trigger such as stress can also be behind it.

However, due to a circulatory disorder, the oxygen transport to the nerve cells of the brain is not permanently guaranteed. However, the brain can only be efficient in the presence of oxygen.
The same also applies to sugar (glucose). If you have hypoglycaemia because you haven't eaten in a long time, it is difficult to concentrate.

It is then the task of the doctor to find out to what extent there are concentration disorders due to stress or in the context of normal everyday life or whether there is a circulatory disorder.

Find out more at: Difficulty concentrating


Tinnitus is a noisy ear such as whistling, buzzing or hissing. It arises in the inner ear and is only perceived by the patient. It doesn't have to be permanent. It can only occur intermittently. Both ears or just one can be affected.

Tinnitus can be triggered by a circulatory disorder. Usually the hearing organ in the inner ear is not sufficiently supplied with blood. The auditory cells then react to the lack of oxygen with this malfunction. Medicines that stimulate blood circulation are therefore used to treat the hearing impairment.

You might also be interested in:

  • Causes of Tinnitus
  • Circulatory disorders in the ear

Speech disorder

A language disorder (aphasia) is a clear sign of a circulatory disorder in the brain.
A distinction is made between different forms of aphasia, depending on which part of the brain is affected by the circulatory disorder. In the case of a Broca language disorder, language formation is particularly impaired. This is also called motor aphasia. In contrast, there is sensory aphasia. Speech comprehension is severely impaired here. In global aphasia, both language formation and language understanding are damaged.
Anamnestic aphasia is more likely to occur in head injuries and is characterized by word-finding disorders.


Epileptic seizures can have many causes. The imbalance of excitatory and inhibitory impulses leads to an uncontrolled spread of excitation to entire nerve cell clusters. With circulatory disorders in the brain, the risk of epileptic seizures is significantly increased.

Around 5 percent of all stroke patients suffer from an epileptic seizure in the first week after the stroke. In significantly more than half of those affected, however, it is a one-off event. Drug therapy for epilepsy is not necessary.

Do you have seizures? Find out more at: Epilepsy

a headache

Headache is a very common symptom. In the vast majority of cases, the causes are harmless, such as a fluid deficit due to too little drinking or stress.

But circulatory disorders in the brain can also cause headaches. If the headache is severe or if there are other accompanying neurological symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately. Chronic headaches should also be clarified neurologically, as more threatening causes such as circulatory disorders can also be behind it.

Symptoms from circulatory disorders of the cervical spine

Circulatory disorders can occur not only in the brain, but also in the cervical spine.
It must be said that the blood vessels in the cervical spine mainly supply the brain.

The arteries that pull up through the transverse processes of the cervical spine to the right and left of the spine merge into an artery inside the skull. It supplies large parts of the brain stem and the cerebellum. Finally it flows into the vascular ring (Circulus Willisi) at the base of the brain, from where all the important arteries for the blood supply to the brain go off.

Circulatory disorders in the cervical spine can therefore cause the same symptoms as circulatory disorders in the brain.

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