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Abnormal Blood Vessels Headaches

Arteriovenous malformations

Various abnormalities of the blood vessels may cause headaches. Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are abnormal blood vessels which channel blood from the arterial to the venous side of the circulation. Usually  this abnormality does not cause any headaches unless there is a hemorrhage. A hemorrhage can cause fairly mild symptoms or can even be life-threatening.

Abnormal blood vessels may cause headaches to occur repeatedly and due to this reason, the headaches can be misdiagnosed as migraine headache. Patients with this type of abnormality often suffer from seizures, which can further complicate their clinical course.

What is an aneurysm

Ruptured aneurysms also may cause severe headaches. An aneurysm is a a bubble-like expansion or a “bleb”  of an artery caused by the thinning in the blood vessel wall. This abnormal arterial expansion can lead to weakness of the blood vessel wall which can even bulge out just like an overblown balloon under the pressure of circulating blood.  Overtime it can also lead to a high risk of hemorrhage as the aneurysm can burst.

The resulting condition, subarachnoid hemorrhage, is usually a sudden and very agonizing headache, often claimed by the sufferer as the “worst headache of my life”  or sometimes referred to as “thunderclap” headache pain.  This is a case that requires urgent medical attention and CT scan and angiography.  In addition, lumbar puncture are often needed to diagnose this condition. Surgery is usually recommended.