Signs and Symptoms of Arteriovenous Malformation

Blood circulation is carried out in our body through arteries, veins, and capillaries. All these are known as blood vessels. An abnormal system or formation of these vessels somewhere in the body in which there is an absence of capillaries and the arteries and veins are communicating directly is known as an arteriovenous malformation. These are also called defects in the blood vessels and they can be anywhere between benign to highly complicated and life threatening. Though AVMs are very uncommon (about 1 percent of the general population), it is important to understand their signs and symptoms in order to diagnose and treat them early. If they go undetected, they may progress to the last stage where there are increased risks of stroke and congestive heart failure.
Having a family history of AVMs and being a male put you to a greater risk of having AVMs. You should keep looking for some early signs and symptoms of this disorder to have it diagnosed and treated on time. If a brain AVM goes undetected, it may eventually cause bleeding in the skull and death. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of AVMs to be wary of:

Seizures and Headaches

Man with migraine imageA brain AVM, also known as cerebral arteriovenous malformation, may cause seizures and chronic headaches. A seizure is a condition in which the person loses control and starts shaking for a short period of time. If a person experiences seizures with no other medical condition and also have occasional headaches, these two conditions indicate the presence of an AVM in the brain. Seizures may also occur in children less than two years of age and if there is no other apparent reason, parents should immediately have the kid checked up for the presence of a brain AVM.

Disorders of Regular Mental Processes

– Dementia
– Memory lapses
– Hallucinations
– Confusion
– Inability to concentrate

If one or many of these symptoms are appearing regularly, they may point towards the presence of an AVM in the brain.

Stroke-like Symptoms

If other signs and symptoms are not present in a person, he or she is likely to have some stroke-like symptoms when there is an AVM inside their brain. These include;

– Numbness and weakness
– Paralysis
– Vision loss
– Difficulty in speaking and comprehending
– Confusion
– Inability to take a decision
– Unsteadiness

Bleeding in the Brain

In about more than half cases of brain AVMs, bleeding in the skull is considered a guaranteed sign of a brain AVM. Bleeding is caused by a ruptured malformation of blood vessels, which causes hemorrhage. This is a life-threatening condition and if occurs the patient should be immediately taken to the hospital. It is considered an emergency because there were not any other symptoms of a brain AVM to diagnose this condition before bleeding occurred.

The above-mentioned symptoms may vary from patient to patient because they largely depend on four factors:

– Location of the malformation in the body
– Size of the AVM
– Type of blood vessel that is the main cause of the AVM
– Type of risk associated with a particular AVM

Although AVMs in the brain are the most common, there can be many other AVMs in the body; found in the spinal cord, limbs, chest or abdomen. These malformations show different signs and symptoms, such as abdominal pain or chest pain, muscle weakness and inability to move in case the AVM is found in the spine, and lack of coordination.