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Aneurysms: Are You At Risk?

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Oct 10, 2022

    Aneurysms: Are You At Risk?

    What is an aneurysm? An aneurysm is a bulge in an artery’s wall that develops when a weak spot in the artery’s wall expands due to the pressure of blood flowing through it or when the blood vessel wall becomes weak for another reason.

    How common are they?

    Although aneurysms can occur in any blood channel, they typically develop in the belly or chest regions of the aorta, the major blood conduit that transports blood from the heart, or in the arteries that supply the brain.

    Aneurysms that occur in the heart or brain can be dangerous. But those that occur in other places, like your leg, may not be as risky. 

    An aneurysm’s greatest danger is that it will rupture and produce significant bleeding or a stroke, both of which can be fatal. Additionally, a large aneurysm can impair circulation and cause blood clots.

    Aneurysms frequently have few to no symptoms, making early diagnosis and treatment crucial. Routine checkups can help your doctor look for warning signals.

    Types of Aneurysms

    Aortic aneurysms

    As the name implies, aortic aneurysms occur in the aorta. They can be related to atherosclerosis, also known as artery hardening, which can be inherited or result from high blood pressure or smoking. Age and cholesterol (fat) deposits are also common causes of atherosclerosis. 

    Ventricular aneurysm

    Ventricular aneurysm, a bulging in the heart’s wall, is most frequently caused by a previous heart attack. However, it is also occasionally brought on by severe chest injuries.

    Cerebral aneurysm

    Smoking increases your risk of developing a cerebral aneurysm, also known as a berry aneurysm, which develops in the wall of a blood vessel in your brain.

    Peripheral vascular aneurysms

    One of the more frequent peripheral vascular aneurysms is the popliteal artery, which has a bulge or weak spot in its wall and provides blood to the knee joint, calf, and thigh.

    Causes of Aneurysms

    One can develop aneurysms from any disorder that weakens the arterial walls. Atherosclerosis and high blood pressure are the most common offenders.

    An aneurysm can also result from deep wounds and infections, or you could be born with a weakening in one of your arterial walls.

    How Are Aneurysms Checked?

    Your doctor will interview you on symptoms first and foremost, and whether or not another family member has experienced an aneurysm before performing a thorough exam. The doctor may check the following:

  • Check your heart
  • Check your blood pressure
  • Listen to the arteries in your neck
  • Look for any suspicious mass in your abdomen
  • Check for popliteal aneurysms behind the knee
  • Your doctor may order an ultrasound test, which is painless. It can locate and measure an aneurysm if they believe one is in your chest. If they believe one is in your aorta, they may require an angiogram. 

    Your aorta and the blood vessels in your brain can both be checked with an MRI.

    How are Aneurysms Handled Medically?

    Aneurysms can only be treated by having them surgically or endovascularly corrected. Surgery may not always be an option as it may pose more risk than the aneurysm itself. If that’s the case, careful monitoring and medication may be appropriate.

    After determining the aneurysm’s size, nature, and location, your doctor will provide the best course of action.

    The following actions may be considered:

    • If you have an inoperable aneurysm, your doctor may prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure or lessen the force of your heartbeat. This will reduce the likelihood that the aneurysm may burst.
    • Your doctor may also try medicine and employ a wait-and-see strategy, monitoring the aneurysm’s progress, even if it is operable.
    • You might require surgery. A surgeon can clip the blood vessel or artery to stop blood flow to the afflicted area.
    • Aneurysms can sometimes be removed, and the affected artery can be repaired with a synthetic graft.

    For the best treatment plan, consult your doctor.

    Learn more about General Health here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Oct 10, 2022

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