A Word on Aneurysms

An aneurysm is when part of an artery becomes weakened and widens or “balloons” out.  They can be caused by all sorts of elements, from congenital factors to injury and disease.  Aneurysms may occur anywhere in the body, though the brain, heart, legs, intestine, and spleen are the most common locations.  An aneurysm may grow over a long period of time without causing any visible symptoms, though ones that develop closer to the skin may be visible and even painful.

In the even of a rupture or a sudden expansion of the artery, symptoms may come on rapidly and require immediate attention.  These symptoms may include dizziness, heart-rate increase, nausea, low-blood pressure, to name just a few, and the situation can be life-threatening.   An aneurysm that bursts in the brain is known as a stroke. 

There is no single source that can be pointed to as causing aneurysms, but rather many different factors that can lead to the condition.  High blood pressure can be a cause, as the increased pressure on the arterial walls weakens them.  Certain lifestyle factors, among them smoking, high fat diets, and obesity, have been linked to aneurysm development.  People with a family history of heart and circulatory problems tend to be more likely to develop aneurysms. 

Ask your doctor if you are at risk for an aneurysm.  There are several effective treatments for the problem, depending on its severity and location.  If you wish to help control your own risk-factors, take steps to improve your overall arterial health.  Exercise regularly, quit smoking, and maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet.   This can help keep aneurysms from developing.