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Aortic aneurysms occur when weak sections of the aortic arterial wall bulge from the pressure of blood in the vessels. These bulges can burst unexpectedly and causes rapid death. Another danger of aortic aneurysms is the formation of blood clots in and around the bulging section which may come lose and block the arteries in another section. Abdominal aortic aneurysms represent ¾ of all aortic aneurysms and ¼ is due to thoracic aortic aneurysms. Aneurysms can also occur in arteries in the back of the knee, the main thigh arteries, the arteries to the head, the arteries to the brain (cerebral aneurysm) and the arteries to the heart muscle. Risk factors for aneurysms are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and age. Men are 8 times more prone to the condition than women. Arteriosclerosis is commonly associated with nearly all aneurysms in older people. Arteriosclerosis can be caused by a fatty diet, injuries, inflammatory diseases of the aorta, hereditary connective tissue disorders, syphilis and other infectious diseases. The condition is usually asymptomatic. Some symptoms may occur in abdominal aortic aneurysms - pulsing feeling in stomach, pain in back, pain in stomach area, bloating, nausea and vomiting. The symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm are shock due to excess bleeding, dizziness, fainting, weakness, sweating, rapid heartbeat and loss of consciousness. Symptoms of thoracic aneurysm are high back pain, coughing, wheezing, coughing up blood and difficulty swallowing. A ruptured cerebral aneurysm may cause bleeding to the brain and hence a stroke or damage due to insufficient blood to the brain. Doctors can diagnose aneurysms prior to rupture by feeling for an abnormally pulsing aorta in the mid-abdominal area, ultrasound, radiological imaging study, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and aortography. A thoracic aortic aneurysm can be diagnosed from assessment of the symptoms and cerebral aneurysms can be diagnosed by imaging tests like MRI, CT scans and angiograms.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Sun Star
About: Aneurysms are often asymptomatic and can rupture unexpectedly
Date: 29 November 2004
Source: Sun Star
Author: Henrylito D. Tacio
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