An aneurysm is the enlargement of an artery that creates a bulge or distension caused by weakness in the arterial wall. Most aneurysms do not show symptoms and are not dangerous. However, at their most severe stage, some can rupture, leading to life-threatening internal bleeding.
Aneurysm can happen in any blood vessel, but they usually form in the belly or chest portions of aorta – the main blood vessel that carries blood from your heart – or in arteries that nourish the brain. Aneurysm there are serious, while those in other areas, such as your leg, can be less hazardous.
The most serious threat of an aneurysm is that it will burst and cause a stroke or massive bleeding, which can be life-threatening. A large aneurysm can affect your circulation and lead to blood clots.
• Aortic Aneurysm
This type happens in 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.
• Cerebral Aneurysm
It is also known as a berry aneurysm, you get this kind in the wall of a blood vessel in your brain. Smoking raises its risk.
• Peripheral Aneurysm
It is a bulging or weakness in the wall of the popliteal artery that supplies blood to the knee joint, calf and thigh.
• Ventricular Aneurysm
This is a bulge in the wall of heart. A previous heart attack is the most common cause.
Its symptoms may vary with each type and location. It is important to know that aneurysm that occur in the body or brain generally don’t present signs or symptoms until they rupture.
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 aneurysms anywhere in the body can include –
• Sudden, extremely severe headache (worst headache ever experienced)
• Nausea and vomitting
• Blurred or double vision
• A drooping eyelid
• Sensitivity to light
• Increased heart rate
• Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
• Loss of consciousness
In some cases, it may leak a slight amount of blood. This leaking (Sentinel bleed) may cause only a –
• Sudden, extremely severe headache
A more severe rupture often follows leaking.
This type may produce no symptoms, particularly if it’s small. However, a larger unruptured aneurysm may press on brain tissues and nerves, possibly causing –
• Pain above and behind one eye
• A dilated pupil
• Numbness of one side of the face
• Change in vision or double vision
It can happen in any part of the body. Blood pressure can more easily distend a weakened arterial wall. Some aneurysm, though less common, are present from birth as an arterial defect.
Risk Factors –
Males are more likely to have such condition than females. People older them 60 are also at a higher risk. Other factors may include –
• a diet high in fats and cholestrol
• a family history of heart conditions
• drug abuse, particularly the use of cocaine
• heavy alcohol consumption
• inactive lifestyle
Some types of aneurysms may occur after a head injury or from certain blood infections (mycotic)
Most people living with an aneurysm do not experience any complications. However, in addition to thromboembolism and rupture of the aorta, complications can include –
• Severe chest or backpain
• A sudden extreme headache
• Hyponatraemia (A drop in blood- sodium levels)
• Re-bleeding causes futher damage to brain cells
• In Pregnancy, it may increase your risk of having aneurysm of the spleen
On the basis of symptoms and physical exam done by doctor, he will ask for following test to confirm the diagnosis –
• CT scan
• Cerebrospinal fluid test
• Cerebral angiogram
There are two common treatment option for a ruptured brain aneurysm –
• Surgical clipping
• Endovascular coiling
Newer treatments available for brain aneurysm include flow diverters, tubular stent-like implants that work by diverting blood flow away from the aneurysm sac. The diversion stops blood movement within the aneurysm and so stimulates the body to heal the site, encouraging reconstruction of the parent artery.
Other treatments (ruptured aneurysms)
Other treatments for ruptured brain aneurysm are aimed at relieving symptoms and managing complications –
• Pain relievers such as acetaminophen
• Calcium channel blockers such as nimodipine
• Anti-seizure medications such as Phenytoin, valproic acid
• Ventricular or lumbar draining catheters and shunt surgery
• Rehabilitative therapy
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