If you get an aneurysm, it means you have a bulge in the wall of an artery. It happens when the pressure of blood passing through has forced a weakened part of the artery to balloon outward or when the blood vessel wall is weakened for a different reason.
Any condition that causes your artery walls to weaken can bring one on.
The most common culprits are atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.
Deep wounds and infections can also lead to an aneurysm.
Or you may be born with weakness in one of your artery walls.
As the name suggests, this type happens in your aorta. It can be linked with hardening of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. It may be an inherited condition or a complication of high blood pressure or smoking.
Also known as a berry aneurysm, you get this kind in the wall of a blood vessel in your brain. Smoking raises your risk of getting one.
One of the more common peripheral vascular aneurysms, it is a bulging or weakness in the wall of the artery that supplies blood to the knee joint, calf and thigh.
This is a bulge in the wall of your heart. A previous heart attack is the most common cause. In rare cases, a severe chest injury can also lead to it.
Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm
Aneurysms that occur near the surface of the body may show signs of swelling and pain. A large mass may also develop. The symptoms of ruptured aneurysm vary, based on its location.
Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm in the brain begin with a sudden and excruciating a headache. Other symptoms may include:
Vision problems, such as double vision
Sensitivity to light
Nausea and vomiting
Loss of consciousness
Symptoms of an aortic aneurysm depend on whether it occurs in the chest or the abdomen.
When a thoracic aortic aneurysm ruptures, symptoms may include:
Sudden and severe chest pain
Sudden back pain
Significant drop in blood pressure
Numbness in the limbs
An abdominal aortic aneurysm that ruptures may cause the following symptoms:
Sudden and severe pain in the abdomen or lower back
Rapid heart rate
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Shortness of breath
If your doctor thinks you have an aneurysm in your aorta, the main artery in your body, you may get an ultrasound test.
This is painless and can pinpoint and measure an aneurysm.
If they think one is in your chest, you might get a CT scan.
If your doctor is concerned that you have one in your brain, you may get a CT scan or an invasive test called an angiogram.
During this, dye is injected into an artery in an arm or leg and travels to your brain. A picture of your brain is then taken.
The dye will make it easier for your doctor to see any problems.
An MRI can also check your aorta or blood vessels in your brain.
The only way to treat an aneurysm is to have it repaired with surgery or an endovascular procedure.
Sometimes, surgery isn’t possible, or it may pose more danger than the aneurysm. Careful monitoring and medication may be best in that case.
Your doctor will figure out the size, type, and location of the aneurysm. What they find will help determine your best treatment.
For inoperable aneurysms, you may be prescribed drugs to lower your blood pressure or ease the force of your heart’s beating. Your chance of it bursting will go down.
Even for an operable aneurysm, your doctor may first try medication and a wait-and-see approach, monitoring its growth.
You may need surgery if your doctor finds that the aneurysm has become big enough to be dangerous. A surgeon can treat it by inserting a clip that cuts off blood flow to the affected area.
In some cases, the aneurysm can be removed. That section of artery can be replaced with a synthetic graft.