An aneurysm occurs when an artery’s wall becomes weak and thin, and stretches and bulges like a balloon. An aortic aneurysm occurs in the aorta. An AAA, or abdominal aortic aneurysm, occurs in the most common affected part of the aorta: the abdominal, or stomach, area. Because the aorta is the main artery to leave your heart, an aortic aneurysm is a dangerous condition. If the condition worsens and the walls grown large enough or weak enough, the wall can rupture and the resulting bleeding may threaten your life.
Aortic aneurysms are usually caused by atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries, and high blood pressure. Male smokers over the age of 60 are most likely candidates of this condition, as well as those with AAA in their genetics. If you are at risk, ensure you’re evaluated early and regularly.
Unfortunately, these aneurysms don’t usually result in symptoms until they rupture. Before they rupture, some may experience major back or abdominal pain that pain medication does not have any effect on. A healthcare provider may also identify a mass in your abdomen as AAA.
Living a heart-healthy life can help you prevent the clogged arteries and thus an aortic aneurysm.
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat protein like nuts and fish
- Exercise regularly
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight and keep diabetes under control
- Quit smoking
- 3D Echo
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Cardiac MRI
- Peripheral Vascular Studies
- Stress Testing