Aneurysm refers to an irregular widening or ballooning of a portion of an artery due to increased blood pressure and can occur throughout the body. Aneurysm may occur due to weakness in some of the parts of the blood vessel wall. Bursting of an aneurysm can cause a stroke. Aneurysm can be of two types: Congenital (present at birth) or Due to underlying medical condition.
What are the causes of aneurysm?
There are no known causes of aneurysm. However, some aneurysms are present at birth. It can also develop due to persistent stress at a particular part of the artery wall.
What are the types of aneurysm?
Depending upon the affected area, aneurysm can be classified into four forms.
Cerebral aneurysm: Though aneurysm can develop in any part of the brain, it is more likely to develop around the circle of Willis. It consists of major clump of arteries that lie at the base of the brain, which are prone to developing aneurysms.
Aortic aneurysm: In this form, the major artery that leaves the heart is affected causing an aneurysm.
Popliteal aneurysm: It occurs when the popliteal artery found behind the knee is affected.
Splenic aneurysm: This type of aneurysm occurs when the splenic artery, a major artery in the spleen is affected. It is commonly seen in pregnant females and linked to congenital aneurysm.
What are the symptoms of aneurysm?
Normally, aneurysms do not show any signs. There might be certain symptoms depending upon the area affected:
How aneurysm is diagnosed?
- If an artery closer to the skin has aneurysm, there may be discomfort and inflammation.
- An aneurysm burst can cause low blood pressure, weakness, increased heart rate, extreme internal bleeding which may result in death of the person.
- A thunderclap headache can cause brain aneurysm leading to seizures and temporary failure of any organ.
- Rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm can be fatal due to a large quantity of blood spilling out in the abdominal cavity.
Your doctor may order certain diagnostic tests to identify aneurysm:
What are the treatment options for aneurysm?
- CT scan: Aneurysm affecting the blood vessels of the kidney or other parts of the body is identified with the help of a CT scan. This method is also useful in detecting the growth of a thoracic aortic aneurysm.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound helps in knowing the exact area that is affected thereby helping in the treatment.
- MRI: MRI works by sending pulses of radio waves and magnetic fields into the body to get an accurate image of the organs and structures within. This immensely helps in diagnosing aneurysm correctly.
Various treatment options for aneurysm are available for aneurysm depending upon extent of progression of the condition.
Medicines: Your doctor will monitor the growth of the aneurysm closely if it can be managed with constant monitoring and medication. A small aneurysm is usually managed with constant monitoring and medications.
Surgical Option: If the aneurysm is large, you will be advised to undergo surgery to get treated. There are a number of types of surgical options your doctor might use, one of them is endovascular embolisation.
How to prevent aneurysm?
- Maintain your blood pressure
- Follow a healthy lifestyle
- Keep your blood cholesterol levels under control
- Stay away from stress, practice Yoga
- Get some exercise
- Eat a balanced diet
- Avoid excessive alcohol