Wednesday, June 28, 2023

What causes an aneurysm?

 An aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of an artery caused by a weakness in the walls of blood vessels

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 There are different types of aneurysms, including:
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm: occurs when the large blood vessel (the aorta) that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes weakened, enlarged, or balloons outward
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  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm: occurs in the part of the aorta that passes through the chest
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  • Cerebral aneurysm: occurs in the brain and can be classified into three types: saccular, fusiform, and mycotic
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Symptoms

A brain aneurysm rarely causes any symptoms unless it ruptures. Unruptured brain aneurysms occasionally cause symptoms if they're particularly large or press against tissues or nerves inside the brain. Symptoms of an unruptured brain aneurysm can include visual disturbances, pain above or around your eye, numbness or weakness on one side of your face, difficulty speaking, headaches, loss of balance, difficulty concentrating, or problems with short-term memory
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 Symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm usually begin with a sudden agonizing headache, which has been likened to being hit on the head, resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before. Other symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, loss of consciousness, and high blood pressure
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Causes

Brain aneurysms are caused by a weakness in the walls of blood vessels in the brain. Most aneurysms develop at the points where the blood vessels divide and branch off, as these areas are often weaker. Increased risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, family history of brain aneurysm, and certain genetic disorders
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Diagnosis

A brain aneurysm is usually diagnosed using angiography, a type of X-ray used to check blood vessels. This involves inserting a needle, usually in the groin, through which a narrow tube called a catheter can be guided into one of your blood vessels. Local anesthetic is used where the needle is inserted, so you won't feel any pain. Using a series of X-rays displayed on a monitor, the catheter is guided into the blood vessels in the neck that supply the brain with blood
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Treatment

Repairing a ruptured aneurysm requires surgery or endovascular treatment. Endovascular treatment means an aneurysm is treated from inside the artery. If you have an unruptured aneurysm, talk with your health care provider about possible treatments. Discuss whether the risk of leaving the aneurysm alone is greater than the risk of treating the aneurysm. Treatment is based on the size, location, and overall appearance of the brain aneurysm. They also may consider factors such as your ability to undergo a procedure
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Prevention

Prevention of aneurysms involves managing risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, and genetic disorders. Screening is only recommended for people thought to have a significant risk of having a brain aneurysm that could rupture at some point in the future. This would usually only apply to you if you had two or more first-degree relatives (father, mother, sister, or brother) who experienced a subarachnoid hemorrhage
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If you experience symptoms of an unruptured brain aneurysm, you should see a GP as soon as possible. Although most aneurysms will not rupture, it's important to get it checked in case treatment is necessary
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 If you notice symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately
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