There are some disorders that develop over time, but other disorders are present at birth. An arteriovenous malformation is a congenital disorder, but symptoms might not arise until early adulthood or even later. People who might have an arteriovenous malformation need to understand the symptoms so that they get treatment. But they should also know about what kinds of benefits they’re entitled to and how they can attain them when they need the help for recovery. These are some of the key facts that anyone who might have an arteriovenous malformation should know about.
What is Arteriovenous Malformation?
Arteriovenous malformations, also known as AVMs, are vascular malformations in which masses of arteries and veins are tangled and bypass the capillaries that send oxygen to surrounding tissues. Because these blood vessels are tangled, blood flow is slowed or stopped at the point of the tangle of arteries and veins. An AVM can be located almost anywhere in the body, but spinal cord and brain AVMs are the most common.
AVMs affect only a small percentage of the U.S. population and the population of the world. In fact, it’s estimated that about 1% of the world has an AVM, and about 1% of people with an AVM die from complications directly related to the disorder. Many times, AVMs are never found, or they can be found at the time of autopsy.
Brain AVMs are one of the more common types of AVMs. Humans have three types of blood vessels: arteries, veins, and capillaries. When a person has a brain AVM, blood never reaches the capillaries, which are responsible for distributing the oxygen-rich blood to the brain. This tangle of arteries and veins disrupts the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and oxygen-depleted blood in the veins away from the brain. Instead, blood passes directly from the arteries to the veins.
Arteriovenous malformations can happen anywhere in the body, but they are most common in areas of the central nervous system, such as the brain and the spinal cord. AVMs can also get progressively larger as a person ages.
While this disorder is usually present at birth, of the people who exhibit symptoms, most won’t see any signs until at least their twenties. This is because symptoms are the result of a slow buildup of neurological damage, and this damage progress as a person ages.
Symptoms of a Brain Arteriovenous Malformation
Some people with AVM will go most of their lives without symptoms. In fact, many people only discover that they have an AVM because they’re receiving treatment for another health condition. Pregnancy can make it more likely that a woman will have symptoms associated with their already existing AVM, but even this isn’t always true. If the symptoms occur, the severity can vary. Some people might only experience mild to moderate discomfort, but some people might experience symptoms that are debilitating or even life threatening.
Many times, a hemorrhage in the brain is one of the first symptoms of a brain arteriovenous malformation. A hemorrhage occurs when the AVM ruptures, and this is often the first sign of someone with AVM.
In people who don’t experience a hemorrhage or an embolization, some of the other common symptoms include seizures and weakness or numbness in a specific location in the body. Very strong headaches, difficulties seeing or speaking, an inability to understand other people, and unsteadiness in movements are other common symptoms.
Some people with AVM might also have a bluish tinge to some parts of their skin because there’s a lack of oxygen reaching certain areas of the body. Dizziness, muscle weakness, and general confusion are some of the other symptoms that can present themselves.
Generally, if no symptoms present themselves by the age of 50, the person is likely to live the rest of their lives without any complications.
Treatment for Arteriovenous Malformation
If your health care provider suspects that you might have an arteriovenous malformation, there are a series of tests that they might have you undergo. A CT scan, which stands for Computed Tomography scan, is a type of test that uses X-rays to scan the interior of the body.
An MRI, which stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a type of test that’s even more beneficial in diagnosing and understanding the circumstances around the AVM. An MRI machine is able to scan all of the blood vessels in a particular area of the body, which will reveal the tangle of arteries and veins. An angiogram and Magnetic Resonance Angiography are two other types of tests that help doctors see the veins and arteries.
Once the AVM has been diagnosed, there are a number of procedures that people with AVM can undergo. For instance, a doctor might prescribe medications to alleviate pain and seizures. Another option that might be explored is surgery. There are three types of surgery, which include regular surgery, radiosurgery, and endovascular embolization. With radiosurgery, a high concentration of radiation is sent to a localized region. An endovascular embolization is when a catheter is inserted into the groin and travels through the circulatory system until is reaches the malformation. At this point, the blood vessels are sealed.
Disability Benefits for Arteriovenous Malformation
Getting disability benefits for AVM can greatly help some people in certain situations, and the Social Security Administration has disability benefits that are available to qualifying individuals who have paid into Social Security through a job or their own business. People with AVM need to which parameters they need to fit in to qualify for SSDI benefits. While AVM isn’t listed under the qualifying medical conditions to receive SSDI benefits, some of the complications that arise are listed.
One situation in which a person could receive benefits for AVM is if they had a stroke, which can be completely disabling and prohibit a person from performing most types of work. Some instances of seizures are also listed by the SSA.
Several other neurological conditions might result in an ability to make an SSDI claim. For instance, if a person with AVM is getting tremors or losing control of their motor functions, they might also be eligible for benefits.
Whenever someone is applying for SSDI benefits, one of the most important things that they need to do to qualify is to ensure that the correct medical documentation is collected and available. If the SSA decides that a claimant doesn’t meet the qualifications for a certain condition, the claimant might still win benefits. There are several factors that play into whether or not a claimant is eligible for benefits, and the claimant must prove that they are unable to perform a previous job, do their current job, or train for a new job.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal an existing denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Arteriovenous Malformation, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.