The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs when an area of the aorta becomes very large or balloons out. Abdominal aortic aneurysms are very common in older men. Men who smoke and over the age of 65 are at risk of getting abdominal aortic aneurysm according to Centers for Disease control and Prevention, CDC. The data obtained from CDC suggests that 75% patients suffering from abdominal aortic aneurysm show a history of smoking. Abdominal aortic aneurysm can develop and still not show any symptoms.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm usually happens below chest. They are more common in men between the ages of 65 and 75. They affect older white people more commonly than older black people. The most common cause of abdominal aortic aneurysm is atherosclerosis more commonly known as hardened arteries. Other factors causing abdominal aortic aneurysm also include infection or injury. Abdominal aortic aneurysms don’t show any symptoms in most cases. So, men between the ages of 65 and 75 are advised to get them checked regularly. Men over the age of 65 who have been smokers should get an ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms, even if they have no symptoms.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms often grow slowly without symptoms, making them difficult to detect. Some aneurysms never rupture. Many start small and stay small; others expand over time, some quickly. So, it is better to get an ultrasound screening if you are 65 or over and have been smoking during your life since they symptoms might never show.
Nonetheless, If you have an enlarging abdominal aortic aneurysm, you might notice some of the following symptoms:
- Deep, constant pain in your abdomen or on the side of your abdomen
- Back pain
- A pulse near your bellybutton
- Pain in the buttocks, groin, or legs
If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms you should immediately go and see your doctor.
Since, the aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, so a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding.
Depending on the size of the aneurysm and how fast it’s growing, treatment varies from watchful waiting to emergency surgery.
Aneurysms can develop anywhere along the aorta. It’s a very large blood vessel. However, most aortic aneurysms occur in the part of your aorta that’s in your abdomen. Diseases and unhealthy behaviors that damage your heart and blood vessels also increase your risk for aortic aneurysm. Smoking is the most important behavior related to aortic aneurysm.
There are a number of other factors that can also play a role in developing an aortic aneurysm, including:
- First and foremost, cause of an abdominal aortic aneurysm is the hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Due to build up of fat and other substances on the lining of the aorta it becomes hardened on those certain places. This is called atherosclerosis.
- Another factor that can cause abdominal aortic aneurysm is high blood pressure. High blood pressure usually causes damage to aorta’s walls and weakens making it susceptible to aneurysms.
- High blood cholesterol can also cause abdominal aortic aneurysms.
- Some blood vessel diseases can cause them to become inflamed making it easier for aneurysm to take hold.
- An infection in the aorta can also cause abdominal aortic aneurysm. It is rare though but still bacterial or fungal infection might cause an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Some inherited connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, can also increase your risk for aortic aneurysm. Your family may also have a history of aortic aneurysms that can increase your risk.
- Having an aneurysm in another large blood vessel, such as the artery behind the knee or the aorta in the chest, might increase your risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Last but not the least, trauma such as from a car accident or a serious fall can also cause abdominal aortic aneurysms.
In conclusion, if you are 65 or older white male with an inclination to smoking you should get an ultrasound screening even if you don’t show any symptoms. And if you have a family history of having aortic aneurysms you should definitely consult your doctor at the earliest.
There can be some complications with abdominal aortic aneurysms too. Most common of the complications are tears in one or more of the layers of the wall of aorta (aortic dissection) or a ruptured aneurysm. If ruptured it can be fatal due to internal bleeding. In general, larger the aneurysm and the faster it grows, the greater the risk of rupture.
A ruptured aneurysm has following syptoms;
- Sudden, intense and persistent abdominal or back pain, which can be described as a tearing sensation
- Low blood pressure
- Fast pulse
Aortic aneurysm can cause blood clots too. If a blood clot breaks loose from the inside wall of an aneurysm and gets lodged in some other blood supplying vessel it can cause pain or block the flow of blood. For example, causing pain or blocking the flow of blood to the leges, toes, kidneys or other abdominal organs.
To prevent an aortic aneurysm you should quit smoking, eat healthy, keep your blood pressure and blood cholesterol under control and get regular exercise. If you’re at risk of an aortic aneurysm, your doctor might recommend other measures, such as medications to lower your blood pressure and relieve stress on weakened arteries.
If you are suffering from abdominal aortic aneurysm and need any assistance you can always contact Kandakacare. Our professional healthcare workers are fully qualified to assist you at home without risking your health.
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- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, CDC