U

Brain Aneurysm and Smoking

by | Jul 8, 2024

Learn about the serious damages of smoking on brain health and the increased risk of brain aneurysms at our specialized clinic in Singapore. Encourage early brain aneurysm screening and take the first step towards quitting smoking with brain aneurysm specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja‘s expert guidance and care.

business man smoking

Introduction to Brain Aneurysm and Smoking

A brain aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel in your vein, caused by the pressure of blood against a weak area of the wall. If a brain aneurysm leaks, it causes a hemorrhagic stroke, which can be very serious. Brain aneurysms are common, but small brain aneurysms typically don’t cause symptoms or health problems…but a ruptured aneurysm is a life-threatening medical emergency.

One of the most significant controllable risk factors for a brain aneurysm is smoking tobacco, especially if you have a family history of brain aneurysm.

Understanding Brain Aneurysms

Again, a brain aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel, caused by a thinning of the wall. Elevated blood pressure is a strong contributor to brain aneurysms. The majority of brain aneurysms are “silent.” They have no symptoms and are often not found, or if they are, are found incidentally when a brain aneurysm scan is done for other reasons. Unfortunately, in other cases an aneurysm is found when it ruptures, causing life threatening issues. A large brain aneurysm might cause symptoms that include visual disturbances, difficulty speaking, numbness on one side of the face, headaches (especially above or around the eye), concentration and memory issues, and loss of balance.

The characteristic symptom of a ruptured aneurysm is a sudden, agonising headache, often worse than any you have ever experienced. Other symptoms can include loss of consciousness, seizures, pain in the neck, nausea, light sensitivity, blurred or double vision, sudden confusion, or weakness on one side of the body.

The Link Between Smoking and Brain Aneurysms

The direct relationship between smoking and brain aneurysms is poorly understood. However, smoking is known to cause damage to blood vessels in general, and thus might increase the risk of the characteristic thinning. On top of that, smoking is also a risk factor for high blood pressure, which is itself a risk factor for aneurysms.  Even occasional smoking can increase the risk, as tobacco increases blood pressure in the short term.

According to studies, the increased risk persists after smoking cessation, but smoking intensity and duration are associated with increased risk. The prevalence of smoking in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, the most common form of brain aneurysm, is 45 to 75% compared to 20 % to 35% in the general population (these figures are from the United States). Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke can also increase the risk of brain aneurysm.

 

Mechanisms of Action

Smoking elevates blood pressure, increasing the risk of aneurysm rupture. It also reduces the elasticity of blood vessel walls and does damage to blood vessels, potentially contributing to thinning. Finally, smoking can increase inflammation in arteries (as well as plaque formation with the associated increased risk of heart problems. Basically, smoking can have significant damage to your blood vessels which can affect your health at multiple levels.

 

Statistical Evidence and Studies

Multiple studies have showed an increase risk of brain aneurysm associated with smoking.One study showed that women aged 30 to 60 who smoked had four times the risk of having a brain aneurysm. If they also had high blood pressure, the risk went up to 7 times. This included small asymptomatic brain aneurysms, indicating that smokers should potentially be screened for aneurysms. This includes former smokers and potentially people with familial or occupational exposure to secondhand smoke.

 

Other Risk Factors and Interactions

Smoking has been shown to increase risk further when in conjunction with high blood pressure (which smoking can cause and exacerbate) and genetic risk factors. Smokers who have a family history of brain aneurysm have a particularly high risk. Most other risks of brain aneurysm are not modifiable. Advanced age and female sex are both associated with higher risk. Brain aneurysms can also be caused by head injuries.

 

Screening for Smokers and Former Smokers at Our Brain Aneurysm Clinic in Singapore

While quitting smoking doesn’t completely remove the risk, it does significantly reduce it. If you smoke, then you should quit, and if you are having difficulty quitting, you should ask a medical professional about a cessation program. The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic offers screening for brain aneurysm, allowing smokers and former smokers to get checked for aneurysms. There are things we can do to reduce the risk of an aneurysm rupturing, so we invite you to contact us today to arrange for screening and diagnosis with our brain aneurysm specialist in Singapore, Dr. Manish Taneja.

Brain Aneurysm Resources

Discover brain aneurysm resources that go beyond the basics designed for patients. Understand the meaning of  a brain aneurysm condition, the causes, symptoms, signs, and more. Connect with your brain health.

Put Brain Aneurysm on Your Health Radar

Did you experience the worst headache of your life? Could it be a brain aneurysm that ruptures, which means bleeding in the brain? Thoughts could be racing through your mind. Then what is the difference between unruptured (a weak or thin spot on an artery in the brain that balloons) or ruptured brain aneurysm? If you’re wondering, then the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is here to help. It’s important to look out for the tell-tale brain aneurysm symptoms, signs, causes, and risk factors.

Dr. Manish Taneja has been performing brain aneurysm treatments since 1995 from surgical clipping to latest minimally invasive procedures. Each patient is unique as is the size and location of the aneurysm. Your brain has different conditions to treat the aneurysm and artery vessel walls of a blood vessel in the brain. This calls for personalised brain aneurysm treatment depending on your symptoms, family, history, medication, and more. A simple CT scan could be just what the doctor ordered and the first step in early detection and prevention of a brain aneurysm. Come in for an easy consultation with our brain aneurysm specialist in Singapore to be on your health radar.

Other Health Conditions

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our brain aneurysm specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.