An aneurysm is a weakened area of the artery. Some people never even realize they have a problem unless the aneurysm ruptures; however, aneurysms cause over 25,000 deaths in the United States each year. Here are some things you should know about this potentially life threatening condition.
How is an aneurysm dangerous?
If an area of a blood artery is weak, the blood can push against it, causing the artery to bulge. The “bulge” can be on all sides of the blood vessel or only on one side – the risk of rupture depends on how big the bulge is. The aneurysm can be very dangerous if it ruptures, requiring emergency surgery; however, if the aneurysm is unruptured and showing no symptoms, it may only require monitoring by a physician.
What are symptoms of an aneurysm?
Aneurysms can develop slowly and can be difficult to detect. They can occur in different parts of the body, including the brain, the abdomen, the leg, the groin, and the neck.
Although some patients never have symptoms unless an aneurysm ruptures, there are some things to look out for. Abdominal or thoracic aneurysms can cause pain in the jaw, upper back, and chest and difficulty swallowing and breathing. They may also cause a loss of consciousness and weakness or paralysis of one side of the body.
What are the risk factors for aneurysms?
Smoking is the most common risk factor for aneurysms to develop. Other risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, age of 65 or older, a buildup of plaque in the arteries, an unhealthy diet, and a family history of aortic aneurysm. Those with a family history of aneurysms tend to develop them at a younger age than other patients and have a higher risk of rupture.
How can an aneurysm be diagnosed?
Your doctor can use ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, or computed tomography scanning to check for aneurysms.
Dr. Sammy A. Zakhary has a long history of treating patients with aneurysms. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have a problem with aneurysms, call the Glendale, Arizona, office today, at (623) 258-3255.