What is Brain aneurysm?
It is a critical condition, which causes bulging on the wall of the artery that supplies blood to the brain. The bulging is only very mild in the initial stages and might not show any symptoms. The artery wall bulges and the bulging grows until it breaks. Once it breaks, the blood in artery passes or leaked into the skull, which is called as subarachnoid hemorrhage. This condition leads to stroke or sometimes death, when the brain damage is high.
A person might experience all of the below mentioned or few of these.
- Neck pain: Prolonged neck pain and discomfort
- High sensitivity to light and sunlight
- Chronic nausea and vomiting
- Sudden seizures
- Sudden sharp headaches
- Loss of consciousness
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Numbness and weakness
- Pain in the head and eye
Apart from these, a person might also feel sudden difficulty to walk, stand or sit, drooping eyelids, stiff and painful neck muscles, seizures in a any part of the body.
When a person has any of the above mentioned symptoms, immediate doctor consultation is highly recommended.
Types of Aneurysms
There are two types of aneurysms.
- Saccular aneurysm: This is a type of swelling that looks like a sac that is bulging in between the bifurcation of the artery. This type of bulging is also called as Berry aneurysm, as it resembles the shape of a berry. This type, often leads to rupture.
- Fusiform aneurysm: This is a rare type of swelling that swells in all directions of the artery wall. Though it causes symptoms, it rarely bursts.
Causes of Brain aneurysm:
The major causes of bulging or swelling (brain aneurysm) in artery walls are mentioned below.
- Family history: Like any other disease or conditions, aneurysms might also get genetically passed on for generations. People who have any elders in the family with brain aneurysms have more chances of getting affected.
- Gender: Studies show that women are affected more when compared to men. Stress might be the reason is one the studies’ findings.
- Smoking and high amounts of alcohol consumption: People who smoke and drink a lot of alcohol are more likely to get affected.
- High blood pressure: People who are already undergoing treatment and have high blood pressure are more prone to get affected by aneurysm.
- Kidney issues: People who have kidney issues are more likely to get affected.
- Drug addiction: People who are addicted to drugs, especially cocaine, have more chances to get affected when compared to non-drug addicts.
- Tumors: If a person has tumor, he or she has the risk to get affected by aneurysm.
- Accidents: One is highly prone to get affected after a severe head injury because of accidents.
If a person has had any type of brain aneurysm previously, are more likely to get affected again.
When you face any of the above mentioned symptoms, a doctor consultation is highly recommended. The doctor will perform a physical examination and ask you to get CT scan done. Imaging techniques like MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiogram) and CTA (Computed Tomography Angiography) might also be required to diagnose the bulging in the walls of the artery.
Like any cardiovascular issues, brain aneurysms also do not have any earlier symptoms. It affects the person very immediately and there is nothing to do prevent.
Though there are no precautionary steps, it is recommended that people with high blood pressure take regular medication and control hypertension. When there are unpredictable spikes in the pressure, there are high chances of swelling in the wall of the artery.
People who have family history of aneurysms, can also have them regularly checked for any indications. MRI or CT scan can help you identify.
Though there are options, treatment for aneurysms can be tricky. If the swelling has been detected through symptoms faced by the patient, but the swelling has not ruptured, then there are many options for treating the swelling. When the swelling has not been ruptured, the person will be kept under observation. Decisions will be taken by the experts to understand whether it will be a short term or long term risk. If it is a high risk one, a procedure called surgical clipping will be performed. It is also called as endovascular procedure.
If the swelling has already ruptured, steps will be taken to control the bleeding and close the rupture to prevent further aneurysm. It will be obliterated with a clip or coil. There are many factors which the doctors panel need to look into before performing any surgery on the patient, like, age, severity of the symptoms, size of the swelling, placement of the swelling and other medical history. Usually, if the case is not severe, doctor will not recommend surgery.
What can you do to prevent aneurysm in general?
- Regular physical exercise
- Follow practices like yoga to prevent stress and tension
- Consuming healthy food
- Reduce smoking and alcohol consumption
- Follow a good and healthy sleep routine