What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm? An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a weakened and bulging area in the lower part of the aorta, the major blood vessel that supplies blood to the body. The aorta runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen. Most commonly, people with abdominal aortic aneurysms are Caucasian, male, and older than 60, and have high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or a family history of aortic aneurysm. A history of cigarette smoking is also a strong risk factor for the development of abdominal aortic aneurysm. Abdominal aortic aneurysms are estimated to occur in 1.3% of men aged 45 to 54 years of age and 12.5% of men between 75 and 84 years of age in the United States (Source: CDC). The signs and symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm may not be evident, and the course of disease varies among individuals. Some people with an abdominal aortic aneurysm have no symptoms at all. Others may have a pulsating feeling near the navel or may experience abdominal, chest or back pain. Fortunately, abdominal aortic aneurysms can be treated successfully with a range of options, such as lifestyle changes, high blood pressure management, or surgical repair. Left untreated, an abdominal aortic aneurysm may lead to rupture of the aneurysm, which causes life-threatening bleeding. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have symptoms of a ruptured abdominal aneurysm, such as severe abdominal, pelvic, or lower back pain, rapid heart rate, cold skin, or loss of consciousness. Seek prompt medical care if you develop symptoms such as a pulsating feeling near the navel, tenderness or pain in the abdomen or chest, or back pain.