How Do AVMs Affect a Person’s Health?

Mainly there are two types of AVMs: cerebral and spinal.People with one or more AVMs in any part of their body, mostly in the brain, experience many signs and symptoms like tingling, seizures, numbness, headaches, memory loss, and weakness in the legs that largely depend on the location of the AVM. One of the complications of a brain AVM is hemorrhage in which the AVM ruptures and causes bleeding in the skull.This leads to some other health consequences, which greatly affect a person’s overall health and well-being.

Doctor with brain pictures imageIt is therefore very important to diagnose AVMs in their early stage and then devise a proper treatment, such as surgical removal, endovascular neurosurgery, medical therapy, or radiosurgery. Some areas of the brain are hard to treat and so your doctor may advise regular checkups along with medication to alleviate the symptoms associated with brain or cerebral AVMs. The most common of these symptoms include headaches, dementia, confusion, lack of concentration and inability to decide.

Here are some health consequences of having extremely complicated AVMs:

Hemorrhage

Two types of hemorrhage in the brain may occur when an AVM ruptures: intracerebral hemorrhage or ICH and subarachnoid hemorrhage or SAH. Both are characterized by rupture and localized bleeding, which results in death of brain cells.

It has been seen that small AVMs are more likely to rupture than large ones. Sometimes very large malformations are untreatable and they are left as it is treating the symptoms instead of the main problem.
The various treatment options given to a patient with a brain AVM have one and only one goal: to prevent hemorrhage. Doctors are now trying to devise a methodology to predict hemorrhages in patients with a brain AVM so that it can be prevented. People with high blood pressure are strongly advised to start medication or undergo surgery as soon as an AVM is diagnosed in order to prevent further complications and consequences of hemorrhage.This is because high blood pressure increases the likelihood of AVM rupture and bleed.

Health Consequences of Hemorrhage

Brain hemorrhage causes blood to be collected outside of the blood vessels creating a hematoma. An AVM rupture inside the brain may cause two types of hematomas: subdural and intracranial epidural. This further causes the intracranial pressure to increase, reducing oxygen supply to the cells in the brain and consequently damaging healthy brain tissue. It is possible to remove this blood collected as a result of hemorrhage through surgery. Loss of blood to certain areas of the brain is also associated with stroke. This is yet another health consequence of hemorrhage and it is known as hemorrhagic stroke. In addition to an AVM, another cause of rupture in the brain is aneurysm. Once stroke occurs, many other complications follow, such as nausea, unconsciousness, severe headache accompanied by vomiting, numbness, and paralysis. People who suffer stroke as a consequence of an AVM rupture also experience seizures.

Hemorrhage can be prevented through early intervention that may include treatments like radiation treatment, surgical removal, or endovascular correction. However, it is important to diagnose brain AVMs before a treatment could be prescribed by your doctor.

Conditions Related to AVMs

Several conditions are usually associated with the presence of neurological AVMs in human body.Very obvious clinical symptoms are rarely seen in most patients but some common signs like swelling, tingling, and seizures. If the AVMs are large and untreatable, conditions like seizures are treated using anti-seizure medications instead of recommending surgical removal or other complicated treatments. Sometimes brain AVMs are not treated because of a danger of causing a vegetative state.