Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of cavernous angioma (cavernoma, cavernous malformation). There are a number of factors that may be causing your fatigue:

  1. Research has shown that fatigue is a common long term aftereffect of traumatic brain injury. There is no reason to believe that this would not be the case for cavernous angioma. The mechanism behind the fatigue is not understood, but the fatigue itself can feel debilitating to those who experience it. 
  2. Seizure disorders that emanate from the frontal lobe or cavernous angiomas in the pons result in a lower quality of sleep. This means that even if you have what appears to be sufficient sleep, the lower quality of their sleep will make you feel less rested. Making sure your seizure disorder is well-treated can help if this is the cause.
  3. Most anti-seizure medications have sedation as a side effect. If you are debilitated by this, speak to your neurologist to see if there might be an alternative medication.
  4. Even mild muscle weakness or decreased coordination resulting from a cavernous angioma bleed can result in reduced physical stamina. It simply requires more energy to use legs that feel heavy or that won’t do what you ask of them.
  5. A cavernous angioma diagnosis can be emotionally traumatic, sometimes resulting in anxiety and depression that disturb sleep. Your family physician, neurologist, or a mental health professional may assist you in managing emotional trauma.
  6. Having a cavernous angioma does not make you immune to other sources of poor sleep: iron deficiency resulting in periodic limb movement, sleep apnea, or poor sleep hygiene. Making sure any co-morbid conditions or exacerbating behaviors are addressed first can often significantly reduce fatigue.

No matter the cause of your fatigue, making sure you get enough rest at night and have the opportunity to rest during the day can be essential. The Americans with Disabilities Act may assist you in working with your employer on creative scheduling. A 504 plan to address fatigue at school may be needed for children. See our webpage on Cavernous Angioma and School for information about 504 plans. 


Updated 5.15.20