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What is an Aneurysm?

 

There are many types of aneurysms, but the most common occur in the brain or in the aorta which is the main artery that carries blood throughout the body from the heart. An aneurysm is the widening of a blood vessel which is similar to a blister but it occurs inside the body.

It is estimated that one out of fifteen people in America will develop a brain aneurysm in their lifetime. A brain aneurysm occurs when arteries that supply blood to the brain become weakened. Blood will still continue to flow through the area that is weakened causing the artery to bulge or balloon out. If pressure continues to this area the aneurysm may burst which could result in brain death, stroke or death.

A ruptured aneurysm is not always fatal particularly if treatment is sought immediately. They are caused by illness or injury, but they can also be genetic. Aneurysms also can occur in the heart, neck, back of the knees or thighs, intestine, spleen and other parts of the body. Around fifteen thousand Americans die from ruptured aneurysms every year in The United States. It is the tenth leading cause of death in America. Men develop aneurysms five to ten times more often than women, but in women there tends to be a higher risk of the aneurysm rupturing than in men.

Risk factors for an aorta aneurysm include age, smoking, plaque buildup, high blood pressure, fat buildup, blood infections and family history. Those with a family history have an increased risk and may get them at a younger age. Aneurysms usually go unnoticed because there may not be any symptoms until a rupture happens. Headaches are the most common symptom of a brain aneurysm, but many people do not think of a headache as being brain aneurysm.

Signs to look for include pain in the neck or face, difficulty speaking or blurry vision along with a severe headache. If any of these signs are experienced medical attention should sought immediately. An examination or an MRI or CT scan can determine if an aneurysm is present. Regular check ups will be advised for observation or treatment will be administered if it is determined that a rupture is imminent.

If caught in time aneurysms can be prevented. Regular exercise, not smoking and reducing fat and cholesterol in the diet is highly recommended to help prevent an aneurysm from developing. Treatment options include medication to lower blood pressure or surgery may be needed, but there are not any medications that stop an aneurysm from occurring.

Michael Morales



 

 

 


 

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