Aneurysms are defined by being weak areas in a blood vessel’s wall. Though they can form in any blood vessel, they most often occur in arteries rather than veins. The primary areas they can occur include the brain, neck, kidney, aorta, intestines, and spleen; they most commonly form in the aorta, which is actually the body’s largest artery. It serves the purpose of shuttling oxygen-rich blood away from the heart and to other body parts.
There are a variety of risk factors that could increase your likelihood of developing an aneurysm. Factors that you can control include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes. Factors that you cannot control include being older, male, having a family history of aneurysms, and genetic factors.
A diagnosis of an aneurysm can be reached via various tests, such as ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, angiograms, and echocardiograms. In fact, the Ezra full-body MRI could identify aneurysms in your brain, abdomen, and pelvis. If found, your physician may encourage you to undergo a procedure called an endovascular embolization to treat your aneurysm; these are typically performed on cerebral–brain–aneurysms that are at risk of rupturing, which could be life-threatening.
While aneurysms can be asymptomatic, they may also cause pain:
- A cerebral aneurysm could cause a sudden, severe headache if it leaks a small amount of blood.
- A common iliac aneurysm could lead to pain in your back, groin, or lower abdomen.
- An abdominal aortic aneurysm could cause persistent pain in your chest, abdomen, lower back, or groin.
- A femoral aneurysm may cause pain in your leg.
It’s important, however, to remember that many of the above signs could also be due to other conditions; you should see a physician as soon as possible should you develop them.