An aortic aneurysm is a bulge that forms in your
aorta. That's the long blood vessel that moves blood from your heart to
different parts of your body. A bulge can form if the wall of the blood vessel
is weak. An aortic aneurysm is a serious medical problem. Here's what you need
to know about this threat to your health.
What to Know About Aortic Aneurysms https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/1500x1003%2B0%2B0/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fa9%2F0f%2Fcac5b6de45e7ba76b2978d43112c%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-gettyimages-487002500.jpg
An aortic aneurysm can form in two areas along
the aorta. A thoracic aortic aneurysm is one that forms in your chest. One that
forms below the chest area is an abdominal aortic aneurysm. There are other
differences too. Men are more likely than women to have an abdominal aortic
aneurysm. Thoracic aortic aneurysms tend to affect both sexes equally. However,
both types are more common with advancing age.
1. There are two types of aortic aneurysms. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/1500x1003%2B0%2B5/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F8e%2Fee%2F300b974247f1bd82ffbc8613cf06%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-gettyimages-92666607.jpg
Some people have an aortic aneurysm but don't
know it. These bulges don't always cause symptoms, especially when they're
small. A thoracic aneurysm can cause hoarseness, coughing and trouble
swallowing. Serious symptoms include sharp back pain between the shoulders.
Most abdominal aortic aneurysms have no symptoms until they burst. If you do
have symptoms, they may include pain in your legs, buttocks, back or side.
Signs of a bursting aortic aneurysm include lightheadedness and severe back or
belly pain that comes on suddenly.
An aortic aneurysm can burst. That's a rupture.
Sometimes it can cause the layers of the wall of the artery to separate. That's
a dissection. Both are very serious and can lead to death. There's also the
chance of blood clots forming in the area of an aortic aneurysm. If a clot
breaks loose and travels elsewhere in the body, it can block a blood vessel.
That can be very dangerous.
3. An aortic aneurysm can be a life-or-death emergency. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/3872x2590%2B0%2B0/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F70%2Fb4%2Fb02c5e8c4f8aa4a05e1cf6ad2a59%2Fimage-getty-173022816.jpg
Certain common health conditions can increase
your risk of an aortic aneurysm. These include high cholesterol and high blood
pressure. High cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, another serious risk
factor. That condition develops when plaque forms on the lining of your blood
vessels. This makes them rigid. Work with your doctor to treat these conditions
through medication and lifestyle changes. Smoking is also a serious risk
factor. Men who have ever smoked should get an aortic aneurysm screening after
age 65. If you still smoke, quitting will reduce your risk of aortic aneurysm.
4. Know your risk factors. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F71%2F02%2F1c95c1904ade96348947a4591080%2Fimage-gettyimages-501870949-blood-pressure-gauge-and-stethoscope.jpg