Cavernoma Awareness Day 2022
Cavernoma awareness day is observed on 15th of August. The aim of observing this day is to create and raise awareness about cavernoma. Let’s know more about what cavernoma is, its symptoms, causes and treatment.
What Is Cavernoma?
Cavernoma is a cluster or group of abnormal blood vessels found in the brain and the spinal cord. It usually looks like a raspberry which contains blood that slowly flows through the vessels and is usually clotted. Cavernoma is also known as Cavernous hemangiomas, cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM), or cavernous angiomas. A cavernoma might vary from some millimetres to a few centimeters in size.
The severity and the number of symptoms of cavernoma usually depend on its size, location, and the number of cavernomas present. However, not everyone may get them, and they also vary from one person to another. The various symptoms of cavernoma include:
- Seizures (which is the most common symptom and usually occur first)
- Severe headaches
- Feeling weakness in arms and legs
- Blurred or double vision or vision loss
- Facial drooping
- Trouble balancing and unsteady walking
- Trouble with memory and concentration
- Tinnitus, loss of hearing
- Difficulty speaking
The exact causes of cavernoma are not known. However, most of the cavernomas are known as sporadic forms (also known as sporadic cavernous hemangiomas). Researchers have found that an abnormal type of blood vessel called developmental venous anomaly (DVA) increases the risk of developing cavernoma.
Cavernomas may also develop due to genetics or hereditary link and might also occur as a result of radiation therapy to the brain or spine.
Diagnosis Of Cavernoma
Mostly Cavernomas are diagnosed in an MRI scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Usually, the symptoms of cavernoma are not very prominent and are detected in an MRI scan done for other conditions. Apart from MRI, a CT scan or an angiography might also be used to diagnose cavernoma; however, they are not extremely reliable.
Just like the symptoms of cavernoma vary from person to person, the treatment approaches also vary depending on the size, location, and number of cavernomas present. Usually, a conservative management approach is used, where symptoms like headaches and seizures are controlled using medications.
The possibility of bleeding is a primary risk of cavernoma, known as Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH). If the bleeding risk is higher, your doctor might treat you using the following two approaches. They are:
- Surgery: It is the main treatment method used to remove the cavernoma.
- Radiation treatment: Stereotactic Radiosurgery is performed to treat cavernomas, where a single dose of radiation is focussed directly on the cavernoma, leading to its thickening and scarring. This method of treatment is used only if the position of the cavernoma makes it difficult or dangerous to remove it surgically.
Let’s Raise Awareness About Cavernoma On This Cavernoma Awareness Day 2022
Being diagnosed with cavernomas can be terrifying, and knowing that there is no effective way to prevent cavernoma can make it even worse. However, it is essential to stay positive and get it scanned from time to time. As periodic scanning will ensure its treatment on time. Lifestyle management like eating healthy and staying hydrated, sleeping well, keeping blood pressure in check, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, keeping cholesterol levels under control and maintaining cardiovascular health by doing exercises regularly is essential while having cavernoma. Seizures, vision change, double vision, dizziness may affect your ability to drive. Hence, driving must be avoided if you have cavernoma.