Cerebral Aneurysms: Prevention and Treatment
An aneurysm can be a horrifying health situation for a patient of any age. A serious medical condition, aneurysms are caused by the weakening of an artery wall that causes arteries to become enlarged and burst. Cerebral aneurysms of the brain are especially dangerous, as this can lead to more severe issues like a hemorrhagic stroke or even the possibility of death. It’s important to understand the symptoms of brain aneurysms, as well as ways to prevent and treat this condition.
There are a number of aneurysm risk factors that people should be aware of, and many of them can actually be curbed with simple lifestyle changes. Like many health conditions, smokers and tobacco users find themselves at a greater risk. By quitting current smoking, you’re helping to better your blood flow throughout the entirety of your body. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is also an underlying cause of cerebral aneurysms. Changes to your diet and exercise routines are one of the quickest ways to help reduce your blood pressure. Leading a healthy lifestyle also includes eradicating drug use and limiting alcohol intake.
There are risk factors within your genetics that can also lead to a brain aneurysm. If your family has a history of aneurysms, you are at greater risk. Aneurysms are also more likely in patients 40 or older, and more common in women than men. People of color are also at a higher risk of complications. The underlying presence of other disorders that you may have or run in your family can also impact your chances like fibromuscular dysplasia and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Symptoms of a Brain Aneurysm
There are a variety of symptoms of cerebral aneurysms that are all dependent on the type of aneurysm you’ve suffered. A ruptured aneurysm, for example, can come with the sudden and extreme headache—this is associated with most aneurysms. However, it also may come with symptoms like blurred vision and drooping eyelids. Unruptured aneurysms are often characterized by pain above and behind one eye, as well as numbness in the face and dilated pupils.
If you experience that sudden and extreme headache, be sure to seek immediate medical attention. Call 911 if a loved one is experiencing this pain as it may be a sign of a brain aneurysm or a seizure. Most aneurysms don’t rupture, but it’s important to have these issues addressed immediately. Doctors will screen you in one of several ways for a cerebral aneurysm, such as by performing a CT scan or MRI. Modern medicine has also turned to cerebral angiograms and cerebrospinal fluid tests to get a better assessment of the presence of hardening artery walls in the brain.
Treatment of Cerebral Aneurysms
The only way to get rid of an aneurysm is to have it repaired with surgery. Careful monitoring of a cerebral aneurysm, combined with a regimen of prescription medications, may actually be the safer option. Conventional medicine helps doctors to figure out the size, type, and location of the aneurysm. A surgeon can treat it by inserting a clip that cuts off blood flow to the affected area of the brain. In some cases, a brain aneurysm can be removed with that section of the artery getting replaced with a synthetic graft.
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