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Aneurysm

Recognizing aneurysm

An aneurysm can occur in almost any area of the body. Brain aneurysm, abdominal aortic aneurysm, cerebral aneurysm, and aortic aneurysm are some of the more common occurrences. An aneurysm is the widening of an artery, which weakens it. It's caused by a problem with the wall of the blood vessel.

It can be difficult to recognize an aneurysm, simply because the symptoms vary depending on the location and size of the aneurysm. Causes of aneurysms haven't been determined. Some aneurysms are present at birth and can go undetected for years.

However, certain health issues can be related to aneurysms and should be addressed immediately. These include high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Smoking has also been linked to aneurysms, but since smokers are typically at risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the link may be more strongly related to the resulting health concerns of smoking.

Women who have pre-existing or unknown aneurysms may find that pregnancy brings symptoms forward.

Symptoms of aneurysm

Aneurysms often cause no symptoms, which is why they can be left unseen and untreated for years in some cases. The location of the aneurysm has a lot to do with the type and frequency of symptoms you may notice. An aneurysm that lies close to the surface of the skin can cause pain and swelling, or even a visible pulsating mass.

What does create symptoms is the rupture or breakage of an aneurysm. Again, depending on the location of the aneurysm, a rupture may cause low blood pressure, fast heartbeat, or dizziness. Pain may also be a symptom of a broken aneurysm. A ruptured aneurysm may also be fatal in many cases.

Treatment of aneurysm

Aneurysms are usually treated with surgery. However, your treatment plan will depend on the location, size and symptoms of your aneurysm. Some aneurysms can be treated with a stent, which is inserted into the vessel and holds it open, preventing rupture. This is the least invasive procedure, but isn't an option for some aneurysms. Some aneurysms can't be treated because the location makes surgery too dangerous for the patient.

It's important to work closely with your doctor in the diagnosis and treatment of an aneurysm.

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