An aneurysm is a distention, or bulge, of an arterial wall caused by the pressure of blood forcing out a weak part of the wall. These can occur in any artery throughout the body, but the most concerning are those that occur in the heart or the brain, i.e. aortic or cerebral aneurysms. Most aneurysms, otherwise, are not very dangerous, and do not result in any noticeable or concerning symptoms. The main concern is that these aneurysms may burst and can lead to internal bleeding, and, in the case of cerebral aneurysms, a stroke.
Because of the inconspicuous nature of the condition, it is recommended that you get regularly examined by your physician for warning signs. If you do not know of a physician you can visit, we recommend these Best Neurologist in Lahore if you require one in that city.
Types of Aneurysms
Not only are the aneurysms classified on the basis of where they are located, they are also labelled according to their shape. Fulsiform aneurysms are bulges in arteries affecting all sides of the vessel, while saccular aneurysms only affect one side. The risk of rupturing depends on the size and shape of the bulge.
Cerebral Aneurysms: These are also known as berry aneurysms due to their appearance, and, if ruptured, could be fatal within 24 hours. About 40% of all cerebral aneurysms are fatal, and around 40% will suffer some sort of neurological impairment. Rupturing of a cerebral aneurysm is the most common cause of subarachnoid hemorrhages.
Aortic Aneurysms: The aorta is the primary artery leading from the heart to all other arteries in the body, and the most common kind of aortic aneurysm is the abdominal aortic aneurysm. Such an aneurysm at a size greater than six centimeters has a survival rate of just 20%. On the other hand, a thoracic aortic aneurysm has a higher survival rate of 56% even without treatment.
Peripheral Aneurysms: These account for aneurysms occurring in any other part of the body, such as the popliteal aneurysm (behind the knee, which is most common from these peripheral conditions), splenic artery aneurysm (near the spleen), or the visceral aneurysm (of the arteries supplying the bowels and kidneys). These peripheral aneurysms are much less likely to rupture than the aortic localized ones.
As mentioned earlier, most aneurysms do not present with noticeable symptoms, until they are ruptured and cause internal bleeding. However, sometimes aneurysms may restrict blood flow and sometimes cause a blood clot to form which may go on to block arteries further downstream. This condition is known as thromboembolism, and could possibly lead to an ischemic stroke or other serious conditions.
In the case of abdominal aneurysms, some people may experience pain in the abdomen and lower back.
Thoracic aneurysms may also be accompanied by certain symptoms resulting from nerves surrounding the aneurysms being affected by growing pressure. These symptoms include difficulties in swallowing or breathing, and pain in the upper back, chest or jaw.
Though the exact causes of aneurysms are unknown, there are certain factors that are associated with higher risk of developing the condition. These include hypertension, obesity, the consumption of tobacco, a poor diet and low physical exercise or general day-to-day strain. The most common risk factor has been found, so far, to be smoking, which is believed to be a major cause of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
If you have a family history of aneurysms, we highly suggest you visit a professional immediately to assess your risk of developing one. These physicians at Saifee Hospital in Karachi are great options.
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