A brain arteriovenous malformation might not be detectable until it ruptures. The rupture results in bleeding in the brain (hemorrhaging). In approximately half of all observed brain AVMs, hemorrhaging is the first detected sign. However, those with brain AVM might experience symptoms other than bleeding. These include seizures, headache or tangible pain in a specific area of the head, or muscle weakness or numbness in a specific body part. More serious neurological symptoms might also occur. These include severe headaches, numbness, weakness, or paralysis, vision loss, confusion, severe unsteadiness, and difficulty speaking. Symptoms can occur at any age, though they typically emerge between the ages of 10 and 40. Brain AVMs can effectively damage brain tissue over time. The effects tend to build up progressively, often causing signs and symptoms in early adulthood. When patients reach middle age, brain AVMs tend to stabilize and aren’t as likely to cause discernible symptoms. Pregnant women might experience relatively discomforting symptoms due to alterations in their blood pressure and blood volume. Individuals experiencing any symptoms of brain AVM should immediately contact their Pembroke Pines vein disease specialist for a consultation.
Although the exact cause of brain AVM is currently unidentified, some researchers believe that the condition emerges during the development of a fetus. In normal cases, the heart sends oxygen-filled blood to the brain from the arteries. The arteries effectively slow blood flow by passing through a succession of progressively smaller blood vessel networks, ending with capillaries, the smallest blood vessels. The capillaries steadily deliver oxygen to the surrounding brain tissue through their porous, thin walls. Then, the blood passes into larger veins from small blood vessels. The large veins drain the blood from the brain, returning it to the lungs and heart to accumulate more oxygen. In an AVM, the veins and arteries lack the supporting network of capillaries and smaller blood vessels. The abnormal connection instead causes blood to pass directly from the arteries into the veins, moving past the surrounding tissues.
Although anyone can be born with a brain AVM, males are typically at higher risk of developing the condition. Additionally, individuals with a family history of AVMs might be more prone to developing it, although there’s no clear consensus on this. Despite cases of several family members developing AVMs, it’s not currently clear whether this observation is coincidental or if it links to a genetic factor. In any case, it’s possible for an individual to inherit certain other medical conditions that serve to predispose them to having an AVM or other vascular malformations. If a family history of AVM is concerning, then a consultation with a vein doctor in Pembroke Pines is recommended.