The aorta is the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. It extends from the chest to the abdomen, into the iliac arteries. The iliac arteries carry blood to lower parts of the body and to the legs.
Sometimes, because of aging or other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, a section of the aorta may weaken and begin to bulge like a balloon. This ballooning can enlarge over time as the walls of the aorta become thinner and stretch. This ballooning of the aorta is called an aortic aneurysm.
Aortic Aneurysm: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments
Although aortic aneurysm is a rare condition, doctors say that it is more common than many people may think. These aneurysms mostly occur in the middle-aged and the elderly. If left untreated, the aneurysm may grow larger over time and rupture, leading to life-threatening internal bleeding.
Whether or not you suffer from this type of aneurysm, it is important to know how it occurs as well as the associated symptoms. You should also learn how to prevent it and the available treatment options. This will help you make informed choices, including visiting an aortic aneurysm and vascular specialist in good time. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is AA (Aortic Aneurysm)?
An aortic aneurysm (AA) is an abnormal, balloon-like bulge that occurs in the aorta. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. It is also the main artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to other parts of the body.
The swellings typically form when there is a weakness in a section of the wall of the aorta. This causes the affected part of the arterial wall to stretch and swell out like a balloon.
The Different Types of Aortic Aneurysms
There are different types of AA, depending on the location of the aneurysm on the aorta. They are:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysms: These aneurysms develop below the chest, in the part of the aorta that runs through the abdomen.
- Thoracic aortic aneurysms: With this type of aneurysm, the bulge occurs along the portion of the aorta that runs through the chest cavity.
- Thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms: The aneurysms are characterized by bulging in the aorta that extends through both the chest and abdomen.
- Aortic dissections/ Dissecting aortic aneurysms: This is a serious condition in which there is a tear in the inner layer of a weakened portion of the aorta. Moreover, blood can flow through the tear, causing the layers of the aorta to split or dissect.
Aortic Aneurysm Causes and Symptoms
Aneurysms can happen anywhere along the aorta. Also, several factors can lead to the development of AA. Aortic aneurysm causes include:
• Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
• Blood vessel diseases
• Infection or inflammation in the aorta
• High blood pressure
• Trauma in the chest area
• Genetic or congenital conditions that affect connective tissue
The following factors increase your risk of having AA.
• Family history of aortic aneurysms
• Being male
• Lifestyle habits such as tobacco use
• Other aneurysms
Understanding aortic aneurysm symptoms will enable you to seek timely treatment. Depending on the location of the aneurysm, symptoms may include:
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
• Deep pain on the side of the abdomen
• A pulse near the belly button
• Pain in the legs, groin, or buttocks
• Lower back pain
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms
• Chest or back pain
• Shortness of breath
• Difficulty breathing or swallowing
• Coughing and hoarseness
Moreover, symptoms of a rupture or tear in the aorta usually occur suddenly and may include:
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Rapid heart rate
• Sudden and severe pain in the chest, abdomen, or back
If you experience any of the above symptoms, you may wonder “How do I find an aortic aneurysm doctor near me?” Fortunately, a simple search on the internet will help you find an aneurysm doctor in Singapore such as Dr. Manish Taneja.
Diagnosis and Physical Examination
For an accurate aortic aneurysm diagnosis, your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform an aortic aneurysm physical examination. If they suspect you have AA, they may also recommend certain tests to help confirm the diagnosis.
Ultrasound: This imaging test uses sound waves to produce clear images of the abdomen. That way, the test provides information about the size of the aneurysm and helps in monitoring the aorta.
CT Scan: X-ray technology is used to produce cross-sectional images of the chest and abdomen. An aortic examination CT scan can also provide details regarding the shape and location of an aneurysm.
Aortic Aneurysm Link to High Blood Pressure and Heart Attack
High blood pressure is one of the risk factors for AA. Blood pressure exerts a force on the wall of the aorta that can cause it to weaken. This also leads to the formation of a bulge.
Because the symptoms can be similar, AA can be mistaken for a heart attack. Similarly, some aortic aneurysms force blood away from organs and tissues, something that can lead to problems such as heart attacks.
Types of AA Treatment
The main aim of AA treatment is to prevent the growth and rupture of the aneurysm. After making a diagnosis, your doctor will recommend the best treatment for you depending on the size of the aneurysm and how fast it is growing. Treatment options include:
Medication: Your doctor may prescribe medications to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and manage cholesterol. Medications are oftentimes used in case of smaller, unruptured aneurysms.
Open surgical repair: For larger or burst aneurysms, your doctor will make an incision, remove the aneurysm and replace the affected segment with a graft.
Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR): This is a minimally invasive procedure used to reline an aneurysm from within. Also, your healthcare provider uses catheter techniques to insert special covered stents called stent grafts that reinforce the weak spot in the aorta.
Stents grafts are much less invasive and safer treatment option. The procedure involves introducing the stent graft through a 1 cm incision in the groin without opening the abdomen.
Can I Prevent AA?
Yes. The best way to prevent or slow the growth of these aneurysms is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to:
• Eat a healthy diet
• Get regular exercise
• Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control
• Stop or do not start smoking or using tobacco products
For more prevention tips, accurate diagnosis, and proper treatment, search the phrase “aortic aneurysm clinic near me” online.
Are Aortic Aneurysm and Brain Aneurysm Related?
While both brain aneurysms and aortic aneurysms involve the dilation or ballooning of blood vessels, they typically occur in different parts of the body and have different causes.
Brain aneurysms, also known as cerebral aneurysms, occur in the blood vessels within the brain. They are typically caused by a weak spot in the arterial wall, and the risk factors include family history, smoking, high blood pressure, and certain genetic conditions. Brain aneurysm specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja, is here to help providing a full spectrum of neurointerventional treatments.
On the other hand, aortic aneurysms affect the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Aortic aneurysms can occur in the abdominal aorta (abdominal aortic aneurysm) or the thoracic aorta (thoracic aortic aneurysm).
The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic and Our Aneurysm Specialist Can Help
While the underlying causes and locations of these aneurysms are different, they are both serious medical conditions that require medical attention and monitoring. It’s important to consult with healthcare professionals like a comprehensive aneurysm specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja, for accurate diagnosis, management, and treatment options specific to each type of aneurysm.
He has the special expertise and experience needed to give you a proper diagnosis and treatment for your aortic aneurysm. This will also go a long way towards lowering the chance of rupture and improving your quality of life.
Read More About Aneurysm Treatments on Our Blog
To dive deeper into the types of neurointerventional treatments, head over to our clinic’s blog.
Read our recommended aneurysm related blog posts to stay informed.
- Understanding the Types of Aneurysms
- Brain Aneurysm Q&A with Dr. Manish Taneja
- 10 Brain Aneurysm Questions Answered
- The Ultimate Guide to Brain Aneurysm
- Conversation with Dr. Manish Taneja on Brain Aneurysm Advances and Care
- The Dangers of Brain Aneurysm
- Brain Aneurysm: Best Minimally Invasive Treatments
- Brain Aneurysm: What You Should Know
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