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Aortic aneurysm: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

An aortic aneurysm occurs when a weakness in a part of the blood vessel wall causes a dilation. The aorta is the main artery that runs from the heart to the chest and abdomen. As a result, a bloody lump forms inside with the risk of bleeding. Some people may have an aortic aneurysm and do not have any symptoms, but over time, the dilation increases in size to the point of bursting, which can cause severe pain along with other symptoms. Some aneurysms do not have to be treated by surgical intervention, but their monitoring must be regular to avoid possible complications. At FastlyHealwe will explain the causes, symptoms and treatments of aortic aneurysm.

Types of aortic aneurysms and their causes

The aortic aneurysm can occur in different places in the body, although the causes are usually the same in other cases. We can differentiate between:

  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm . The dilation of a part of the blood vessel occurs in the aorta that passes through the chest. The leading cause is the hardening of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm . In this case, the blood-filled lump is located in the aorta that extends through the abdomen. One of the causes that can induce the creation of the aorta can also be atherosclerosis, that is, the obstruction of the arteries.
  • Aortic dissection . It is a cut in the artery’s inner wall that causes blood to enter, generating a double path. There are two types of aortic dissection: that which occurs in the ascending part of the aorta and that which takes place in the ascending portion.

In addition to the aortic aneurysm, there is also a type of aneurysm in the brain, known as a cerebral aneurysm.

Other factors that can cause an aortic aneurysm to form include:

  • Genetic factors . Those born with certain genetic diseases are more likely to have an aneurysm. People may be taken with a weakness in the blood vessel that later causes the aneurysm.
  • The consumption of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco is also related to an increased risk of suffering an aneurysm, as well as having high blood pressure.
  • When trauma occurs from a fall or accident, an infection can occur, usually in the heart valve.

Symptoms of aortic aneurysm

Symptoms of an aortic aneurysm vary depending on the type. In many cases, aneurysms develop slowly, so there are no symptoms until bleeding occurs.

  • Aneurysm of the abdominal aorta. When the abdominal aortic aneurysm expands, a mass can be detected in the abdomen, causing back pain and chest tenderness.
  • Aneurysm of the thoracic aorta . The main symptom of an aneurysm of this type is severe pain, mainly in the upper back, wheezing in the chest, and coughing. Another symptom that can be suffered when this type of aneurysm appears is a pain in the arms and chest. If bleeding has occurred, the person may die from blood loss, so timely medical intervention is essential.
  • Aortic dissection . The main symptom is chest pain, which can be sharp, stabbing, and localized in different body parts, such as the back or shoulder blades. The pain usually appears in one place and subsequently radiates to the neck, arms, jaw, hips, or abdomen.

Aortic aneurysm treatment

Similar to symptoms, treatment for an aortic aneurysm will be treated differently. The option that the treatment is surgery will depend on the size of the aneurysm, in addition to other factors that the doctor must consider.

  • Aneurysm of the abdominal aorta . Depending on the size of the aneurysm, the chances of it rupturing and causing bleeding are low, so the doctor may recommend a periodic review to the patient to monitor the condition of the aneurysm and prevent its growth. When the aneurysm is of a size that is considered risky, surgical intervention will be required, which consists of a synthetic graft to repair the aneurysm.
  • Aneurysm of the thoracic aorta . Like the previous one, the aneurysm may be controlled to analyze its growth if it does not present a size that is considered risky. If surgery is required, a synthetic graft will be performed. This type of aneurysm is deemed high risk at the time of surgery because it is in the thoracic area. People with Marfan syndrome, a disease that involves tissue disorder, should be operated on even if the aneurysm is of a size that is not considered risky.
  • Aortic dissection . In this case, the doctor usually recommends drugs intending to regulate the heart rate and blood pressure and that there is a sufficient supply of blood to the heart, kidneys, and brain. The doctor may consider it appropriate to perform surgery, although it is usually only done when the aorta’s dissection is in the first few centimeters.

Risk factors for aortic aneurysm

Although there are no exact causes that cause the development of an aneurysm, some associated risk factors have been related:

  • People who smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs frequently.
  • Those with hypertension, that is high blood pressure.
  • Genetic factors . People with a family history show the presence of an aneurysm.
  • High cholesterol . Cholesterol can cause clogged arteries.
  • People over 50 years old.

In any case, it is essential to visit the doctor periodically for a check-up. Detecting an aneurysm early can help decisively avoid serious consequences, such as bleeding.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Aortic aneurysm: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .

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