Aortic aneurysm

Aortic aneurysm is a localized bulging of the main artery of the body. The aorta carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The part of the aorta where the aneurysm is located is congested and weak, and so it is possible for a rupture to occur in that area.

If this bulge does burst, it can cause severe internal bleeding and result in rapid death. Aneurysms can form along the entire length of the aorta, but most often develop in the abdomen /abdominal aortic aneurysm/. It is possible for them to form in the upper part of the body /thoracic aortic aneurysm/. They are defined as ascending or descending.

What are the symptoms of an aortic aneurysm

Most aortic aneurysms do not cause symptoms. They are usually found in research or tests that are done for a completely different reason. People who develop symptoms complain of a general malaise – bloating, chest or back pain. Symptoms most often appear and then suddenly subside or, in rarer cases, are permanent.

In the worst case, the aneurysm can burst or rupture. This results in severe pain and bleeding and can lead to death within minutes or hours.

A bulging aorta can cause other serious problems. Blood flow often slows down in the bulging part of the main body artery and results in the formation of blood clots.

If the thrombus breaks away from the aneurysm in the chest area, it is very likely to reach the brain and cause a stroke. Clots that break off from an abdominal aneurysm can block blood flow to the abdomen and legs.

What causes it?

The wall of the aorta is usually very elastic. It can stretch and then return to its normal shape as many times as necessary to accommodate blood flow.

Keep in mind that with existing health problems such as hypertension and atherosclerosis /hardening and narrowing of some arteries/ the walls of the arteries weaken. Over time, due to aging, the walls of the arteries lose their elasticity and it is possible for them to bulge and form an aneurysm.

Aortic aneurysm treatment

Treatment depends on how big the bulge is and how fast it grows. If it is very large or increases very quickly, then surgery is needed to correct it. The surgeon will repair the artery damaged by the aneurysm by placing a stent.

Small aneurysms rarely rupture and are usually treated with anti-hypertensive drugs such as beta-blockers. This medicine helps to lower blood pressure and the pressure on the weakened arterial wall is reduced. If surgery is not done, it will be imperative to undergo various diagnostic procedures to monitor the growth of the aortic bulge.

But even if the aneurysm doesn’t grow, you’re at risk for heart problems. Your doctor will recommend that you exercise regularly, eat heart-healthy foods and stop smoking.

You may also be prescribed medication to lower the levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood, because it is this cholesterol that deposits on the walls of blood vessels and increases the risk of blood clots.

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