A Closer Look at Aneurysms

A Closer Look at Aneurysms

Your arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Healthy arteries are strong, muscle-lined tubes that keep blood flowing smoothly. But if part of an artery wall gets weak, it can balloon out and form an aneurysm.

Aneurysms are abnormal bulges in arteries. They typically form without symptoms, but they can quickly become a medical emergency if they burst and cause internal bleeding.

You can’t completely prevent an aneurysm, but you can learn your risk and take steps to improve your heart and vascular health. Kunal Patel, MD and our team at NJ Cardiovascular Institute specialize in aneurysm screening and heart disease care.

We share more about aneurysms, why they form, and how you can protect your health.

Types of aneurysms

Aneurysms can form in any artery in your body. They’re more common in certain areas, including the heart, abdomen, brain, legs, and spleen.

Aortic aneurysms and brain aneurysms are two of the most common types. Since they directly impact the arteries of your heart or brain, they’re also some of the most dangerous.

Aortic aneurysm

Your aorta is a large artery that starts in your heart and passes through your chest and abdomen. Aortic aneurysms develop when a bulge forms along your aorta, either in your chest or your abdomen.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs in your abdomen, and a thoracic aortic aneurysm forms in your chest. Together, aortic aneurysms cause about 25,000 deaths in the United States each year.

Brain aneurysm

A cerebral aneurysm develops in the arteries that transport blood to your brain. These aneurysms are also called brain aneurysms or berry aneurysms. In the United States, about 12,000 brain aneurysms are fatal each year.

Risk factors for aneurysms

Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes aneurysms to form, but they’re generally linked to heart conditions that cause your arterial walls to get weaker.

Certain factors may increase your risk of aneurysm. Dr. Patel may recommend screening for aneurysm or other heart conditions if you:

Having a family history of aneurysm or heart disease may also increase your risk of developing an aneurysm yourself.

Treatment options for aneurysms

Most of the time, aneurysms develop over time. Unless an aneurysm ruptures, it doesn't cause noticeable symptoms. Aneurysms may only be detected during routine medical testing.

If you’re at risk for an aneurysm, Dr. Patel may recommend an aneurysm screening to evaluate the health of your arteries. These screenings can also help our team monitor your aneurysm, arteries, and heart health before complications arise.

A ruptured aneurysm can quickly turn into a medical emergency. Signs of a ruptured aneurysm may vary depending on the location of the aneurysm, but may include:

Ruptured aneurysms need prompt emergency medical care, and often require emergency surgery. Rapid care can help to prevent serious complications that may otherwise lead to death.

When you have an aneurysm, monitoring it could save your life. Come in for a consultation to learn more about our heart care services at NJ Cardiovascular Institute. Book online today or call the office nearest you -- in Lakewood, Newark, Paramus, or Secaucus, New Jersey.

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