An aneurysm is an artery that has enlarged due to weakened arterial wall. Even though an aneurysm rupture can result in catastrophic complications, it frequently has no symptoms. An aneurysm is a bulge or distention of the artery caused by a weakening of the artery wall.
The majority of aneurysms are not harmful and exhibit no symptoms. Some, however, have the potential to burst at their most serious state, resulting in potentially fatal internal haemorrhage.
Over 25,000 deaths in the United States (U.S.) are attributed to aortic aneurysms each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Every year, some 30,000 brain aneurysms burst in the United States. About 40% of these cases result in death within 24 hours.
What is Brain aneurysm?
A brain aneurysm is a condition of the artery in which a region of the arterial wall bulges and swells with blood. It can also be referred to as a cerebral or intracranial aneurysm.
Any age can be affected by a brain aneurysm, which has the potential to be fatal. If a brain aneurysm ruptures, it is a medical emergency that, if left untreated, might result in a stroke, brain damage, and even death.
Types of Brain aneurysm
The location of an aneurysm within the body determines its classification. The two most typical locations for a severe aneurysm are the heart’s arteries and the brain’s arteries.
There are two primary shapes for the bulge:
- Blood vessels with fusiform aneurysms bulge on all sides.
- Saccular aneurysms only have a side that bulges.
The size of the bulge affects the chance of rupture.
The left ventricle of the heart is where the aorta originates. It then travels through the chest and abdominal cavities. The aorta’s diameter is from 2 to 3 centimetres (cm), but an aneurysm can cause it to swell to more than 5 cm.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms are the most prevalent aortic aneurysms (AAA). The area of the aorta that passes through the abdomen is where this happens. The annual survival rate for a AAA larger than 6 cm is 20% without surgery.
AAA can quickly turn fatal, but those who make it to the hospital have a 50% chance of surviving the rest of their lives.
Less frequently, the portion of the aorta that runs across the chest may be affected by a thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA). Without treatment, TAA has a survival probability of 56% and an overall recovery rate of 85% after surgery. As only 25% of aortic aneurysms form in the chest, it is a rare disorder.
Intracranial aneurysms are aneurysms in the blood vessels that supply the brain. They are frequently referred to as “cherry” aneurysms due to their appearance.
Within 24 hours, a brain aneurysm rupture can be fatal. Around 66 percent of people who survive brain aneurysms will have a neurological impairment or disability as a result. Brain aneurysms account for 40% of fatalities.
The most frequent cause of a form of stroke known as subarachnoid haemorrhage is ruptured brain aneurysms (SAH).
An aneurysm in the popliteal region develops behind the knee. The most frequent peripheral aneurysm is this one.
- Aneurysm of the splenic artery: This kind develops close to the spleen.
- Splenic artery aneurysm: This type of aneurysm occurs near the spleen.
- Mesenteric artery aneurysm: The artery that carries blood to the intestines is impacted by this.
- Femoral artery aneurysm: The femoral artery is located in the groyne and can rupture.
- Carotid artery aneurysm: This happens in the neck.
- Visceral aneurysm: Aneurysm of the arteries supplying blood to the gut or kidneys is known as a visceral aneurysm.
Aortic aneurysms are more prone to burst than peripheral aneurysms.
Symptoms of Brain aneurysm
Unless it ruptures, a brain aneurysm rarely exhibits any symptoms (ruptures). If a brain aneurysm is unusually large or presses against brain tissues or nerves, it may occasionally induce symptoms even if it is unruptured.
Unruptured brain aneurysm symptoms can include:
- visual abnormalities include double vision or vision loss
- discomfort over or near your eye
- You feel numb or weak on one side of your face.
- having trouble speaking
- decline in balance
- problems paying attention or having short-term memory issues
If you have signs of a brain aneurysm that has not ruptured, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. Although aneurysms typically do not burst, it is always crucial to have one evaluated in case medical attention is required.
An intense headache that strikes out of nowhere is typically the first sign of a ruptured brain aneurysm. It has been compared to getting hit on the head and causes blinding anguish unlike anything else ever felt.
Other signs of a ruptured brain aneurysm may also manifest suddenly and include the following:
- an ill feeling or being
- a sore neck or ache in the neck
- responsiveness to light
- double or blurry vision
- abrupt confusion
- consciousness is lost
- fits (seizures)
- weakness in any limbs or on one side of the body
Causes of Brain aneurysm
An artery in the brain experiences structural alterations that lead to brain aneurysms. The artery’s walls weaken and thin as a result of these alterations. The distortion may result from wall weakening, but it is also possible for inflammation or trauma to be the only cause of the deformity.
What specifically causes aneurysms to occur is still a mystery. But it’s thought that one or a few of the following elements might favour their development:
- an elastic tissue breakdown inside the artery
- stress brought on by the artery’s blood flow
- because of an increase in inflammation, the artery’s tissue has changed.
Additionally, where an artery splits off into several directions, brain aneurysms are more likely to occur. This is due to the weaker arteries that are present there by nature.
Aneurysms can develop at any time after birth. But they typically come about throughout the course of your lifetime.
Complications of Brain aneurysm
Complications from a ruptured aneurysm could be one of its early warning indications. Instead of only the aneurysm, a rupture is more likely to cause symptoms.
The majority of persons who have an aneurysm do not have any complications. However, problems can also include the following in addition to thromboembolism and aortic rupture:
- Severe chest or back pain: After an aortic aneurysm in the chest ruptures, severe chest or back pain may develop.
- Angina: Another form of chest pain that can result from some aneurysms is angina. Myocardial ischemia and heart attacks can result from angina.
- A sudden extreme headache: An unexpectedly strong headache is the primary sign of SAH caused by a brain aneurysm.
Any aneurysm rupture may result in pain, low blood pressure, a fast heartbeat, and dizziness. The majority of persons with an aneurysm won’t have any problems.
Prevention of Brain aneurysm
Since certain aneurysms are congenital—that is, existing from birth—it is not always possible to prevent them. But some lifestyle decisions can influence the risk:
- Smoking increases the risk of developing aortic aneurysms and having an aneurysm rupture in any part of the body. Smoking cessation can lower the risk of developing a serious aneurysm.
- Reduced aneurysm risk can also be achieved by controlling blood pressure. Dietary changes, regular exercise, and medication can all help lower blood pressure to a healthy level.
- These actions are crucial for lowering pressure on the arterial walls since obesity can put the heart under additional strain.
- Additionally, a healthy diet helps lower cholesterol and lower the risk of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis and fusiform aneurysms frequently go hand in hand.
Anyone who has been given a conservative treatment plan after being diagnosed with an aneurysm can work with a medical professional to address any risk factors.
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