Can You Get a Brain Aneurysm from Stress?

by | May 17, 2024

Discover the intricate link between brain aneurysms and stress. Uncover how stress impacts cardiovascular health and its potential role in the formation and rupture of brain aneurysms. Learn about symptoms, warning signs, and stress management options.

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Understanding Stress and Brain Aneurysms

Stress can cause all kinds of problems, but is it true that you can get a brain aneurysm from it? Many people believe this, but as usual, the truth is quite a bit more complicated. Understanding the link between stress and brain aneurysms can help you keep yourself healthy without becoming overly anxious.


Exploring the Physiology of Stress

We all get stressed sometimes. When we feel under threat, our body goes into fight or flight mode. This is called acute stress, and is typically the result of things such as slamming on the brakes, a bad day at work, even an intense physical activity. When your body goes into this mode, it releases hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol, to prime you to protect yourself or escape the situation. Your pulse goes up, your muscles tense, and you experience hyperalertness.

Unfortunately, sometimes we end up in situations where we can’t escape the stress, such as a toxic job, bad housing situation, money problems, among other things. In this case stress can become chronic, with stress hormone levels building up and never quite dropping back to baseline. This is the kind of stress that can start to affect your health. Acute stress is protective. Chronic stress is maladaptive.


Stress Symptoms and Warning Signs

People can get so used to chronic stress it becomes their perceived baseline. Some warning signs that you are, in fact, stressed include:

  • Irritability and impatience
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Constant feelings of anxiety or fear
  • Racing thoughts that won’t stop
  • Inability to enjoy yourself or lack of interest in life
  • Loss of sense of humor
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore eyes
  • Sleep problems and fatigue
  • Headahes and muscle aches
  • Chest pains
  • Digestive symptoms
  • Changes in weight
  • Rashes
  • Sweating
  • Changes to your menstrual cycle if relevant

These mental and physical symptoms are signs that you may need to take a step back and review how you are managing your stress.


Stress and Cardiovascular Health

As elevated levels of cortisol raise your pulse rate, they can put a strain on your cardiovascular system. This can lead to heart problems and also repeated blood pressure elevations that can lead, eventually, to hypertension. Stress also elevates levels of vasoconstricting hormones. In an acute stress situation this slows bleeding if you’re hurt, which if you are in a fight or evading a wild animal can be a good thing. When this becomes chronic, it can cause high blood pressure. Stress does not directly cause hypertension, but it does increase the risk of it.

Stress can also elevate plaque levels and lead to coronary artery disease.


The Link Between Stress and Brain Aneurysm

Now, what about brain aneurysms? Stress does not directly cause brain aneurysms. The direct cause of a brain aneurysm is weakness in the walls of blood vessels in the brain. Some risk factors for a brain aneurysm include:

  • Smoking tobacco.
  • Family history
  • Female gender after menopause
  • Head injury
  • Cocaine abuse
  • Certain kidney or connective tissue diseases
  • High blood pressure

The link here is that stress can increase your risk of high blood pressure, which in turn increases your risk of experiencing a brain aneurysm. However, stress itself does not cause brain aneurysm formation. However, there is another factor.

Stress, including acute stress, results in a sudden spike in blood pressure. This can cause an aneurysm that is already there to rupture. This is the cause of the myth that stress will cause you to suddenly develop an aneurysm. In truth, the aneurysm might have been there for some time.


Stress Management Strategies

Stress is a common factor in our lives, and everyone needs to learn to manage it. Managing stress reduces your risk of a brain aneurysm and reduces your risk of a rupture if you already have one.  Avoid “self-medicating” your stress with alcohol or other drugs. Instead, consider these healthy coping strategies:

  • Look for ways to reduce stress and remove unnecessary stressors from your life. You might not be able to avoid a toxic work environment right away, but you can, perhaps, choose not to hang out with people who make it worse.
  • Seek social support, whether it’s a listening ear or practical support.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Stress can make you crave sugar, try to deal with it with fruit, not cookies.
  • Use stretches and warm baths and if you can afford it massage to relax your muscles.
  • Learn to meditate. Mindfulness substantially reduces stress.
  • Exercise.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene.
  • Spend time in green space, if possible.
  • Avoid dropping hobbbies to make time for, say, trying to find a new job.
  • Seek help if needed. There is nothing wrong with going to a therapist.

Managing stress will make you healthier and happier.


Promoting Brain Aneurysm Awareness

About 3 out of 100 people in Singapore may have a brain aneurysm and many may not know it. Symptoms may be non-existant or mild, but these people may still be vulnerable for a rupture if something happens including an extremely stressful event.

If you get a sudden, severe headache that strikes with speed, this is a medical emergency and you should seek immediate medical attention. Not all aneurysms will rupture, and aneurysms that are likely to rupture can be treated proactively with minimally invasive techniques. People who have already had one aneurysm should have routine checks.


Discover the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic Brain Aneurysm Treatments Options Available

If you have concerns about stress, are at risk for brain aneurysms, or have had one in the past, consult our qualified healthcare professional and brain aneurysm specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja, from Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic. He can provide an accurate diagnosis, develop a personalized treatment plan, and guide you in managing your stress effectively. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Manage stress levels better today, prioritize your brain health, and arrange an appointment today.

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.