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Healthy Moms Dictionary - Aneurysm

Posted Jan 26 2009 3:51pm

Aneurysms are more common than most people think. Today the Healthy Moms Dictionary will explore all the different types of aneurysms with a major focus on brain aneurysms. An aneurysm is a localized widening of a vein, artery or the heart. There is usually a bulge at the point of the aneurysm.

There are several different types of aneurysms. A few of these types include:

  • Abdominal aneurysm- a balloon- like swelling in the wall of the aorta within the abdomen. This can rupture due to the weakening of the aorta wall and great volume of blood. An abdominal aneurysm can be monitored by ultrasound and surgery is usually recommended if the aneurysm is more than 2.2 inches in diameter.
  • Aortic aneurysm- an aneurysm of the largest artery in the body, the aorta.
  • Arterial aneurysm - An aneurysm involving an artery.
  • Arteriosclerotic aneurysm- An aneurysm that occurs because a vessel wall is wekened by arteriosclerosis.
  • Berry aneurysm - A small aneurysm that looks like a berry and classically occurs at the point at which a cerebral artery departs from the circular artery at the base of the brain. This type of aneurysm usually bleeds.
  • Brain aneurysm - An aneurysm of a blood vessel in the brain, usually due to a defect in the vessel at birth or from high blood pressure. When a brain aneurysm ruptures it can cause a severe headache, nausea, vomiting, decreased consciousness, and can be live threatening.
  • Cardiac aneurysm - Cardiac aneurysms usually occur in the left ventricle because the blood pressure is the greatest there. These types of aneurysms are described as an outpouching of an abnormally thin portion of the heart wall.
  • Dissecting aneurysm - An aneurysm in which the wall of an artery rips longitudinally. This occurs because bleeding into the weakened wall splits the wall.
When most people hear the term aneurysm the first thing that comes to mind is a brain aneurysm or severe headache. According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, an about 6 million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm (1 in 50 people).
About eight in every 100,000 people with unruptured brain aneurysms will experience a rupture. About 40% of those with ruptured brain aneurysms will die as a result. Four out of every 7 people who recover from a ruptured rain aneurysm will have disabilities. Brain aneurysms are most likely to occur in adults ages 35-60, although rare, children can get brain aneurysms too. Women are more likely to get brain aneurysms than men with a ratio of 3:2. Ruptured brain aneurysms account for 3-5% of all new strokes.
Brain Aneurysm

Look for these warning signs if you believe you may have a brain aneurysm.
  • Dilated pupils
  • Double vision
  • Pain above and behind your eye
  • Localized headache
If you have these symptoms you may have a ruptured brain aneurysm.
  • Localized headache
  • Nausia and vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sensitivity to Light
  • Loss of Sensation
Do not use this information to self diagnose. If you have any of these symptoms you should see your doctor right away. He may rule out an aneurysm. It could be migraines or another form of headache.


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