What is an aneurysm

What is an aneurysm?
What is an aneurysm?

An aneurysm, a balloon-like bulge in an artery, can develop and expand for years without showing any symptoms, posing a silent threat to one’s health. However, if an aneurysm grows too large, it can rupture, leading to dangerous bleeding inside the body. Additionally, it can cause a split within the layers of the artery wall, known as a dissection, which can also result in internal bleeding and sudden death.

Aneurysms commonly occur deep inside the chest, abdomen, or brain, with many appearing in the aorta—the main artery carrying blood from the heart down through the body’s center. Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are the most prevalent, comprising three-fourths of all aortic aneurysms, while those in the chest are known as thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA).

Various factors contribute to the risk of developing aneurysms, including genetics, smoking, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (the buildup of fatty deposits in arteries), infections, trauma, age, and gender. Men over 65 are most susceptible to aortic aneurysms, whereas brain aneurysms are more prevalent in women aged 30 to 60.

Symptoms of aneurysms vary depending on their size and location. Large AAAs may cause abdominal throbbing, while large TAAs can lead to pain in the back, jaw, neck, or chest. Brain aneurysms may manifest as pain around the eye or numbness on one side of the face. However, many aneurysms remain asymptomatic and are often discovered incidentally during medical imaging or routine physical examinations.

Management of aneurysms involves medications to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of rupture. Small aneurysms may be monitored regularly, while larger ones may require surgery, such as open surgery to remove the aneurysm or endovascular repair to strengthen the artery using a tube or stent. Individuals with a family history of aneurysms or other risk factors may require routine screening, and lifestyle changes like quitting smoking can help mitigate the risk. If concerned, individuals should consult their doctor for evaluation and appropriate management.