An aortic aneurysm occurs when a portion of the main artery in your body (called the aorta) expands like a balloon because it has become too weak to handle the force of the blood running through it. If a section of the aorta that runs through the abdomen weakens and expands, the condition is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). AAA is not something to ignore.
Who’s at Risk for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?
The people most at risk for AAA are men who have smoked cigarettes and are between the ages of 65 and 75 years old. Women can also have it, but it is not as common as it is with men. People with family members who had AAA are at risk too. Conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol raise the risk as well. Other high-risk factors include heart disease, atherosclerosis, and advanced age.
What Are the Dangers of Aortic Aneurysms?
The layers of a weakened artery wall can separate when blood pumps through a damaged artery. When this happens, it’s referred to as dissection. If an aneurysm explodes and results in bleeding, the occurrence is identified as a rupture. Dying from an aortic aneurysm commonly occurs after dissection or rupture of the aneurysm.
What Are the Symptoms of AAA?
Sometimes no symptoms of AAA appear. If they do, you may feel profound pain in your back or your side. Symptoms can also include discomfort in your buttocks, pelvic area, or legs.
If you have any of the symptoms associated with AAA, see your doctor for an examination. Treatment for this condition, if you have it, may involve taking medicine or having surgery. The right medicine will reduce your blood pressure and lower the risk of having an aortic aneurysm. The damaged area of the aorta can be restored with surgery.