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Symptoms, causes, and types of aneurysms

Symptoms, causes, and types of aneurysms

An aneurysm is a serious condition that affects people around the world, however, many may not be aware of its warning signs and causes. An aneurysm is a bulge or swelling in a blood vessel brought on by weakening vessel walls. Aneurysms can develop anywhere in the body but most commonly occur in the brain and abdominal aorta. Here is everything else one should know about aneurysms, including the symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What to expect?
If an aneurysm ruptures, it can result in internal bleeding. Aneurysms are often asymptomatic until they rupture, so it is essential to be aware of the risk factors and get regular checkups if one is at an increased risk. Doctors can help one control the risk factors and get timely treatment. For tiny brain aneurysms, monitoring is crucial, and it is the only step doctors may take. But for larger aneurysms or those that are growing, surgery may be required to prevent rupture.

Ruptured aneurysms: Here, the most common symptom is sudden, severe pain that spreads to other parts of the body, followed by rapid swelling and redness around the area of the rupture. One may also experience shortness of breath or chest pain.

Unruptured aneurysms: Unruptured bulges cause fewer signs and symptoms than ruptured aneurysms. Over time, however, this type can lead to gradual enlargement (hypertrophy) and weakening (atrophy) of one side of the aorta due to increased blood flow.

Leaking aneurysms: Here, the artery wall ruptures, and blood begins to flow uncontrollably. This may cause severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

The most common type of aneurysm develops in the arteries, which carry oxygen-rich blood to different organs in the body. A bulge can also develop in veins, but this is less common. Several factors contribute to the development of an aneurysm, including high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). High blood pressure can lead to additional stress on the artery walls, causing them to weaken and eventually develop an aneurysm. Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque builds up inside artery walls, making them narrower and weaker.

The main types of aneurysms are ventricular, cerebral, and popliteal.

Ventricular: This is the most common type, developing in the weakened walls of the heart’s chambers. This is often known as the “widening of the coronary arteries” because it increases one’s risk of developing atherosclerosis over time.

Cerebral: Here, the bulge is brought on by a tear in one or more layers of brain tissue. These tears can occur due to factors like head trauma, stroke, infection, tumors, or birth defects like spina bifida. Cerebral aneurysms are serious concerns as they frequently leak cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which contains proteins and other materials that can damage surrounding tissues.

Popliteal: Here, the bulge develops in the popliteal artery that supplies blood to the calf, knee joint, and thigh. It is usually brought on by high blood pressure, diabetes, age, genetics, and physical activity level.

Treatment and diagnosis
When one experiences one or more of the common symptoms, they should seek immediate professional help. Doctors can offer a precise diagnosis based on the size and location of the aneurysm. Following the examination, doctors begin with immediate treatment, which could include surgery, radiation therapy, or a combination of treatment options.

So, one should keep an eye out for symptoms to enable early detection and get examined regularly to identify and control risk factors. This can help one prevent serious complications and get timely treatment.