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Aneurysm - Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention Methods

Published on Sep 18, 2019 and last reviewed on Apr 20, 2022   -  5 min read


The ballooning of a blood vessel is called an aneurysm. It commonly affects the blood vessels in the brain, aorta, behind the knee, and spleen. Read the article to know more.

Aneurysm - Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention Methods

What Is an Aneurysm?

The enlargement of an artery caused by weakness in the wall of the artery, is called an aneurysm. Usually, an aneurysm does not cause any symptoms. But it can cause fatal complications if it ruptures. As the artery wall is weakened in a spot, it results in a bulge or distention, of that spot. Most aneurysms are not dangerous, but some can rupture and result in severe internal bleeding. This bulging of an artery can occur anywhere in the body, but it is most commonly seen in the arteries of the brain, legs, spleen, and heart (aorta).

Aneurysms of the Circle of Willis in the brain and abdominal aortic aneurysms are most commonly fatal. Following a heart attack, aneurysms can also occur in the heart.

What Are the Types of Aneurysm?

An aneurysm can be classified depending on the shape, type, and location. Depending on the shape, the types are:

  1. Fusiform aneurysms - The blood vessel bulges on all sides.

  2. Saccular aneurysms - Only bulge on one side.

Depending on the type, aneurysms can be:

  1. True aneurysm - An aneurysm that involves all three layers of the artery wall. Examples are atherosclerotic, congenital, ventricular, and syphilitic aneurysms.

  2. False aneurysm or Pseudoaneurysm - It occurs when blood leaks out of an artery or vein, but the blood gets collected in the surrounding tissue. It is commonly seen after blunt trauma.

Depending on the location, the types are:

What Causes an Aneurysm?

The exact cause of an aneurysm is still not clear, but the factors that increase the risk of a person developing an aneurysm are:

What Are the Symptoms of an Aneurysm?

Aneurysms produce no symptoms and can develop slowly over many years. Symptoms develop when the aneurysm expands quickly or ruptures. The common symptoms include:

If the aneurysm is near the surface of the skin, it might cause painful swelling with a visible throbbing mass.

The symptoms of an aortic aneurysm are:

The symptoms of a brain aneurysm that has not ruptured are:

The symptoms of a brain aneurysm that has ruptured are:

What Are the Risk Factors for an Aneurysm?

Even though the exact cause of an aneurysm is not known, some factors that seem to increase the risk of developing one are:

How Is an Aneurysm Diagnosed?

Aneurysms that do not cause any symptoms are diagnosed accidentally while screening for some other health condition. The common methods used are:

What Are the Treatment Options for an Aneurysm?

The treatment options include:

Aortic aneurysm - If the aneurysm does not cause any symptoms, then medications and preventive measures are suggested along with surgical treatment. Emergency surgery is needed for a ruptured aneurysm. Depending on the age, coexisting conditions, patient’s choice, size of the aneurysm, and it’s rate of growth, an unruptured aortic aneurysm is operated. The two surgical options include:

Brain aneurysm - Brain aneurysms are operated only if there is a high risk of rupture, as surgical complications are severe. Here, the doctor will advise the patients to lower the risk of such aneurysms from rupturing, like controlling blood pressure.

What Are the Complications of an Aneurysm?

Aneurysms can be fatal if they rupture. Symptoms that result from a ruptured aneurysm are:

How Can an Aneurysm Be Prevented?

Some tips that can help prevent an aneurysm are:

For more information, consult a doctor online.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a brain aneurysm?

When a blood vessel in the brain bulges or balloons out, it is called a brain aneurysm. If this aneurysm ruptures, it can cause life-threatening complications.


What is an aortic aneurysm?

An abnormal bulging occurring in the wall of a major blood vessel that carries blood from the heart is called an aortic aneurysm. If the aneurysm is in the part of the aorta that passes through the abdomen, then it is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). And if it is present in the aorta passing through the chest cavity, it is known as a thoracic aortic aneurysm.


What does an aneurysm feel like?

An aneurysm does not usually cause any symptoms if it is small and not ruptured. If the aneurysm grows, symptoms result as it compresses the nearby structures. You will have severe symptoms if the aneurysm ruptures. These symptoms depend on the location of the aneurysm.


How to prevent aneurysm?

Some tips to prevent an aneurysm are:
- Eat a diet low in calories, trans and saturated fats, and sodium.
- Control your blood pressure.
- Reduce high cholesterol levels.
- Exercise regularly.
- Manage stress and anxiety.
- Quit smoking.


How do you get an aneurysm?

An aneurysm can be caused by:
- Hypertension.
- Atherosclerosis.
- Injury to the blood vessel.
- Hereditary.
- Aortic dissection.


What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

An aneurysm in the part of the aorta that passes through the abdomen is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). It is the most common type of aortic aneurysm.


Can an aneurysm be cured?

The treatment depends on the size and location of the aneurysm. Small aneurysms are usually managed with lifestyle changes and medicine, and preventive measures are undertaken to prevent it from rupturing. A ruptured aneurysm needs emergency surgery.


How do you check for an aneurysm?

An aneurysm can be seen in a CT scan, MRI scan, or ultrasound.


Can a blood test detect an aneurysm?

Currently, there is no blood test to detect an aneurysm. But researches are on to identify biomarkers in the blood that are associated with this condition.


What foods to avoid if you have an aortic aneurysm?

Reduce the consumption of sodium (salt) and trans and saturated fat in your diet. Eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Last reviewed at:
20 Apr 2022  -  5 min read




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