An aneurysm is a medical occurrence that happens in your blood vessels, resulting in a bulge caused by sudden weakness in the blood vessel wall. It’s usually unnoticeable until they rupture, leading to a severe condition known as subarachnoid haemorrhage. That causes extensive brain damage, with around three in five individuals who have the disease die within two weeks, and those who survive are left permanently disabled.
34 in every 100,000 people a year die due to aneurysms in the UK, roughly equating to over 23,000 deaths annually. Half of the victims of aneurysms are younger than 50 years old.
Although it’s challenging to estimate the actual number of people affected by aneurysms since most of them cause no symptoms, experts have discovered that women tend to be more commonly affected than men.
Although women commonly develop aneurysms more than men, males are also at risk due to several factors, including:
- Frequent smoking
- High blood pressure
- Drug abuse
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Men are more prone to have the conditions or habits mentioned above. For instance, more British men have hypertension than women. That’s why if you have any of the vices mentioned, get annual physicals and private MRI scans to avoid any complications, especially if you’re 40 years old or older.
Symptoms of Aneurysm
Although aneurysms produce no noticeable symptoms, once it gets ruptured, you may experience the following:
- Abrupt extreme headache
- Stiff neck
- Loss of consciousness
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Drooping eyelid on either side
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned, seek immediate medical attention.
Prevention of Aneurysm
The best way to avoid developing an aneurysm or reduce your risks of growing an existing one is to incorporate the following changes to your lifestyle:
Diets high in unhealthy fats like saturated and trans fat can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and cholesterol, all of which are risk factors for developing aneurysms. Fortunately, you can efficiently address these by modifying your eating habits.
Here are different ways to do so:
- Opt for whole foods over processed foods.
- Limit or eliminate fatty cuts of meat in your diet, like steak and ribs.
- When consuming dairy, go for low-fat or fat-free options.
Keep Blood Pressure in Check
High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for developing aneurysms. That’s why it’s wise if you regularly check your blood pressure now and then. You can do this by using a classic sphygmomanometer at home or automated blood pressure checkers. Doing this helps you make immediate changes to keep it at the optimal range of 120/80. If your doctor has prescribed you with any medication for hypertension, make sure you take it as instructed.
Smoking is a significant factor for aneurysms and quitting and can go a long way in reducing your risks. Smokers over 45 years old have one in nine chances of developing the condition in their lifetime, but you decline your risks up to 29% when you quit. To help you kick the vice to the curb, consider chewing on nicotine gum, patches, or lozenges. You can also ask your physician to recommend prescription medication or a smoking cessation program.
Although experts established that women are more prone to developing aneurysms, men are also at risk, especially when they get older, smoke frequently, or have hypertension. That’s why it’s wise to have regular check-ups or live a healthier lifestyle for optimal health as you age. If you think you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, contact your physician immediately.