An aneurysm is a serious health condition. In fact, aneurysms may develop and grow for years without causing any symptoms at all. Often, there’s not even a sign of an aneurysm until it grows large enough to press on nearby body parts, block blood flow, or rupture. Aneurysms can occur anywhere throughout the body, including the heart.
What is an Aneurysm?
An aneurysm is defined as a weakening of an artery wall, which causes a ballooning effect. This may lead to a rupture and cause internal bleeding. While aneurysms can occur in any blood vessel, they typically form in the abdomen, chest, or in the arteries that nourish the brain. There are three major types of aneurysm.
1. First, an abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlarged area in the lower part of the aorta.
2. Second, a thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs when the upper aspect of the aorta, above the diaphragm, balloons in size.
3. And thirdly, a cerebral aneurysm is a weak, bulging area in the wall of an artery that supplies blood to the brain.
These are all serious conditions, especially if they burst. Each type has the potential to cause a stroke, life-threatening internal bleeding, or blood clots.
Symptoms of Aneurysms
Abdominal aortic aneurysm symptoms may include:
+ Throbbing in the abdomen
+ Deep pain in the back or side of the abdomen
+ Steady, gnawing pain in the abdomen that lasts for hours or days
Thoracic aortic aneurysm symptoms may include:
+ Hoarseness or difficulty swallowing
+ High-pitched breathing, Neck swelling or pain in the chest or upper back
+ Clammy skin, rapid heart rate, nausea and vomiting
+ Sense of impending doom
Cerebral aneurysm symptoms may include:
+ Severe headache
+ Double or loss of vision
+ Eye and neck pain
If left untreated, these conditions may lead to organ damage or shock. Therefore, you must seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these signs.
What Causes An Aneurysm?
An abdominal aortic aneurysm typically occurs in men over age 60 with one or more risk factor. These risk factors can include emphysema, family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking.
On the other hand, cerebral aneurysms occur in about 5 percent of the population. The wall of a blood vessel in the brain may weaken, bulge or balloon out due to injury, trauma, or existing health conditions.
And, lastly, thoracic aortic aneurysms are usually due to a condition called atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries.