You realise what a delicate organ it is. You want to keep your mind healthy – but would you recognise the symptoms and know how prevent brain aneurysms? When the small blood vessels in your brain fill with blood, this creates a dangerous pressure. Many people still don’t realise when this is happening, so they don’t know how to prevent the root causes. When you’re aware of changes in your body, you have more power over your health. This is especially important when it comes to things – like aneurysms – that could have a devastating impact upon you and your loved ones. Arm yourself with knowledge. Read on!
All about aneurysms
It’s not only difficult to spell, but it’s a scary-sounding word, too. Try to stay calm. Remember: the more you know, the better you can defend yourself. When these problems are identified early, intervention can save lives. Identifying the symptoms is half the battle won. Of course, you should also make an effort to tweak your lifestyle and ditch some of the bad habits. First things, first, though. What, exactly, is a brain aneurysm? Well, it’s a reaction to a blood clot in the brain. When a vein fills with blood, pressure occurs and can cause an eruption.
This situation most frequently appears in the lower portion of the brain. This is important to bear in mind. If they’re not diagnosed and treated early, they can spell serious – sometimes fatal – issues. The risk here is twofold: either the pressure that is created causes irreversible damage or the affected blood vessel begins to haemorrhage.
The causes of brain aneurysms
Can the developmental stages and causes of aneurysm be identified in order to prevent them? The simplest answer is ‘yes and no’. In some case, innate pathology plays a role. That’s to say that you may have been born with an inflamed blood vessel in your brain. In other instances, it may be that a propensity to develop an aneurysm is accelerated by other diseases. Kidney problems, sluggish circulation or conditions that affect the veins and arteries are some of the main culprits.
In addition, things such as infection, high blood pressure, head trauma and certain types of cancer can cause these minute (but dangerous) accumulations of blood in your brain that, ultimately, impede proper blood flow.
Are you at risk of suffering an aneurysm?
Statistically, an aneurysm is most likely to strike someone who is between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. Research also illustrates that women are more likely to suffer aneurysms. When they are 15mm in size, these blood vessels are cause for alarm. They may begin to bleed and increase pressure in the brain, leading to much more serious problems. If they burst and bleed inside the brain, they cause cerebrovascular accidents as well as new aneurysms.
Recognise the symptoms
Sadly, brain aneurysms can be stealthy. They may show no symptoms until they are very large or ready to burst. If they’re less than 10mm in size, there’s no reason to be concerned. Any larger than that and you’ll start to feel their effects.
Ah, but will you recognise those effects? Can you know if an aneurysm is about to burst? If you feel a pain that spreads behind and above your eyes, exercise caution. Weakness or paralysis on one side of your face is also worrying. Your pupils will be dilated, too. Other symptoms associated with a bleeding aneurysm are:
- sudden and intense headaches
- waking up with double vision
- neck pain
Drooping eyelids, light sensitivity, difficulty concentrating, convulsions and migraines should also be taken seriously. If you are experiencing any of these over the course of more than a few days, see your GP!
How is a diagnosis reached?
To determine whether you have an aneurysm, you’ll need an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or a CAT scan. Aneurysms are sometimes seen during routine checks for an entirely different disease. Don’t wait for this to happen, though. If you suspect that there’s something wrong, book an appointment with your GP.
What’s the treatment?
We’re all unique, so your doctor will choose the treatment that best suits your needs. It will be based on factors such as your lifestyle and the size of the aneurysm. There are a couple of options.
Microvascular clipping is one treatment. This procedure attempts to cut off the flow of blood to the aneurysm. The surgeon will locate the blood vessel that supplies the aneurysm and fit it with a small, metallic clip to prevent the return of the aneurysm.
Endovascular embolisation is another technique that is widely used. A catheter is fitted on the groin artery to reroute the aneurysm through a platinum wire where it will be blocked and the problem will be solved.
Today’s medical procedures are quite advanced, so don’t be afraid to seek treatment. Aneurysms tend to react well to them, which allows you to lead a full and active life. Your first step is to be aware of the symptoms. Your second is to act on any suspicions. Good luck and good health!