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Abdominal aortic aneurysm

  • Overview


    An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a condition where a part of the aorta, the main artery in the body, becomes enlarged in the lower part of the abdomen. The aorta carries blood from the heart to various parts of the body. If the aneurysm ruptures, it can lead to severe bleeding and pose a life-threatening situation.

    The course of treatment depends on the size of the aneurysm and its growth rate. It can range from regular health checkups and imaging tests to emergency surgery, depending on the severity of the condition.

  • Symptoms


    Abdominal aortic aneurysms can develop slowly and may not show noticeable symptoms, making them challenging to detect. While some aneurysms never burst, others may start small and remain the same size, while some may grow larger over time, occasionally rapidly.

    If you have a growing abdominal aortic aneurysm, you may experience the following symptoms:
    Constant pain in the belly area or on the side of the belly
    Back pain
    A pulse near the belly button

  • When to see a doctor


    You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden and severe pain.

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  • Causes


    Abdominal aortic aneurysms can emerge in any part of the aorta, the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. They are most commonly found in the abdominal region, and several factors can lead to their development. One of the significant causes is atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up inside the arteries and narrows them, weakening the walls of the aorta. High blood pressure can also cause an abdominal aortic aneurysm and blood vessel diseases that trigger inflammation within the vessel walls. In rare cases, certain bacteria or fungi infections can also play a role in developing this condition. Finally, trauma, such as being involved in a car accident, can also contribute to the emergence of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

  • Risk factors


    An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a serious health condition that can have a variety of causes. Tobacco use is one of the most significant risk factors, as smoking can weaken the walls of blood vessels, including the aorta. This increased weakness raises the likelihood of developing an aortic aneurysm and potential rupture. Men aged 65 to 75 who are current or former smokers are remarkably advised to undergo screening for an abdominal aortic aneurysm through the use of ultrasound. This is because they are at a higher risk of developing the condition due to the effects of smoking on their arteries. However, it’s important to note that age is a factor in this condition, as it predominantly affects individuals aged 65 and older.

    Moreover, studies have shown that men are more susceptible to this condition than women. This could be due to differences in the size and structure of their arteries. Additionally, those of white ethnicity and those with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms are at a higher risk of developing this condition. This is because genetic factors may predispose specific individuals to the infection.

    It’s also worth noting that an aneurysm in the aorta in the chest or another large blood vessel can increase the likelihood of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. This is because the condition can be caused by weaknesses in the walls of blood vessels throughout the body.

    If you risk developing an aortic aneurysm, your healthcare provider may recommend medication to relieve stress on weakened arteries and lower your blood pressure. This can help to reduce the risk of rupture and other complications associated with the condition. It’s vital to be proactive about your health and to speak with your doctor if you have any concerns about your risk for abdominal aortic aneurysm.

  • Prevention


    You can take several steps to prevent or slow the progression of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
    Quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Talk to your healthcare provider about strategies to help you quit.
    Follow a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats, and limit your salt intake.
    Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. Take any prescribed medications as directed by your healthcare provider.
    Incorporate regular exercise into your routine. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, starting slow if you’re new to physical activity. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine which exercises are appropriate for you.

  • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

Content Details

Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

Last updated on: 07/08/2023