An aneurysm is a weak spot in an arterial wall that typically results in bulging or ballooning of the artery beyond its normal size or thickness. An aneurysm can throw off blood clots and cause arteries to burst with uncontrolled bleeding. An aneurysm can occur just about anywhere in the body including the extremities. The most common sites for aneurysms to develop are the abdominal aorta, brain, back of the knee, intestine, or spleen. Ruptured aneurysms can cause internal bleeding, stroke and even death. Aneurysms may have no symptoms until they rupture.

Aneurysm Q & A

Aneurysms are often caused by high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (narrowing of arteries), deep wounds and infections. Some people are born with weakness in their arterial walls. The main risk factors are high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet, high cholesterol and family history. Aneurysms are fairly common.
Symptoms may include severe headaches, eye pain and vision problems, neck pain, nausea, seizures, confusion, fainting, sensitivity to light, fatigue and weakness. Some people have no symptoms at all until an aneurysm bursts, a medical emergency requiring immediate attention.
There are three main types. Abdominal aortic aneurysms typically occur in males over the age of 60. Cerebral aneurysms occur when a blood vessel wall weakens or bulges in the brain. And thoracic aortic aneurysms occur in the chest. An aneurysm may also be named for the part of the body where it appears. For example, an aneurysm behind the knee is called a popliteal aneurysm.
Treatments vary widely according to the type, size and location of the aneurysm. Some aneurysms can be treated with medication, while others require surgery such as endovascular repair including stents or grafts.
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