Are you suffering from pain and numbness in your legs? Having a nagging pain in the back and abdomen? Get in touch with your doctor immediately for these are signs of a condition known as Aortic Aneurysm. Read on to know what is Aortic Aneurysm, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
Aortic Aneurysm Definition
Aortic Aneurysm is a blood filled swelling or inflammation in the aorta, the large artery in the trunk which transports blood to branch arteries from the left heart ventricle. The condition needs to be diagnosed and treated at the earliest or it can turn fatal and cause death.
Aortic Aneurysm is also known as Syphilitic aneurysm in some cases.
Picture 1 – Aortic Aneurysm
Source – indiahospitaltour.com
Aortic Aneurysm Classification
There are four main Aortic Aneurysm types.
Aortic Root Aneurysm
This refers to aneurysm of the sinus of Valsalva and develops on the first part of the aorta.
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
This type of swelling appears on the thoracic aorta which separates into the Iliciac arteries.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
These develop on the abdominal aorta, a branch of the descending aorta. These are the most common kinds of Aortic Aneurysm. The swellings develop in the area under the kidneys.
Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm
These inflamed growths include both abdominal and thoracic aorta. It is a combination of the Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.
Aortic Aneurysm Symptoms
Aortic Aneurysms, when undamaged, produce no symptoms. But there may be several symptoms of Aortic Aneurysm in case of an enlargement. Some of the main Aortic Aneurysm signs are
Most people with Aortic Aneurysm suffer from pain in the back region. In Aortic Aneurysm pain in back is common.
People with this condition typically suffer from tenderness in the affected area.
In rare cases, coagulated blood lining an Aortic Aneurysm can get detached from the swelling and give rise to a blood clot.
The condition can affect the mental makeup of a person and produce feelings of anxiety.
Sufferers may also experience nauseating or vomiting sensations.
People with Aortic Aneurysm suffer from cold, moist hand which can result from mental anxiety produced by this condition.
Increased heart rate
In Aortic Aneurysm heart beat rise is rapid. This can be a serious cause for concern.
What Causes Aortic Aneurysm?
A number of factors can be Aortic Aneurysm causes. Some of the main causes of Aortic Aneurysm are
Rise in blood pressure
In Aortic Aneurysm blood pressure rise is one of the most common causative factors. It must be remembered that Aortic Aneurysm mainly arises due to the weakening of the arterial walls. In people suffering from high blood pressure, walls of aorta can turn weak and result in the formation of these abnormal swellings.
This is a stage of arteriosclerosis, a condition involving hardening or thickening of the tissues in the arterial walls. Atherosclerosis involves unusual deposition of fats (atheromas) within the arterial walls. Atheromas clog the arteries, make them narrow and block normal supply of blood. This produces complications like Aortic Aneurysm.
Marfan Syndrome is a genetic disease that affects collagen of the body and weakens the arterial vessels. This gives rise to Aneurysm in the artery.
Abnormal Aortic Valve
An unusual Aortic Valve puts stress on the artery causing it to dilate and leading to the formation of Aortic Aneurysm. Many basketball players have to undergo Aortic Dissection to correct an Abnormal Aortic Valve.
With increasing age, the arterial walls weaken naturally. This happens more due to the appearance of problems like Atherosclerosis and Hypertension. In Aortic Aneurysm aged people are the main sufferers. The condition is less common in young people.
Aortic Aneurysm Screening
Aortic Aneurysm is usually asymptomatic in the initial stages. In case of an asymptomatic Aortic Aneurysm testing involves physical observation and medical tests. Aortic Aneurysm tests typically include Medical Imaging Study.
Physical tests consist of examination by Stethoscope. In some cases, Aortic Aneurysm gives rise to sounds which can be heard with stethoscopes. This is mainly done during Aortic Aneurysm Abdominal diagnosis. Enlarged Aneurysms can be felt in thin people though they are difficult to sense in obese persons because of high abdominal fat.
In case of a suspected Aortic Aneurysm detection can be done with the aid of imaging tests like MRI, EKG, CAT or an Ultrasound. In many cases, these are detected accidentally when doctors order a chest X-ray or CAT scan for diagnosis of some other disease.
Aortic Aneurysm Treatment Options
In treatment of Aortic Aneurysm location, size and symptoms are the main factors to be considered. The Aortic Aneurysm growth rate is also taken into account. In case of small, asymptomatic aneurysms doctors normally do not recommend any treatment. However, mild Aneurysms need medical therapy for cure.
Aortic Aneurysm medications are generally drugs that reduce blood pressure control. These do not treat Aneurysms directly but can help to cure them indirectly by reducing blood pressure. In Aortic Aneurysm Hypertension control may reduce the rate of widening of artery.
Sometimes, doctors also prescribe a blood thinner along with blood pressure medications. A thinner helps burst any blood clot before they can result in damage. The rupture can, however, cause much bleeding.
Aortic Aneurysm Surgery
An Aortic Aneurysm larger than 6 cms, especially in the thorax, requires immediate surgery. Surgery is also needed if the Aortic Aneurysm size is found to be rapidly growing or if there is a fast chance of Aortic Aneurysm rupture. In case of an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm operation is carried out by a vascular surgeon. A surgical incision is made and the affected area of the arterial wall is replaced by an artificially implanted graft. If this Aortic Aneurysm repair is carried out successfully, blood flows normally through this inserted graft and the condition is cured.
Aortic Aneurysm Prognosis
The prognosis for this disease actually depends on the presence or absence of other medical problems in a sufferer such as diabetes or heart disease that may be a contributing factor to this condition.
Aortic Aneurysm Complications
Aortic Aneurysm can give rise to serious health risks. A Cardiopulmonary Bypass can enhance Aortic Aneurysm risk factors. An Aortic Surgery can result in heart attack, stroke, paralysis or bleeding. In Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm kidney failure may take place. In worse cases of Aortic Aneurysm death may even occur. 5-10% of patients die soon after the surgery. But a surgery is mostly successful and results in absolute Aortic Aneurysm recovery.
Aortic Aneurysm Life Expectancy
In 1999 aortic aneurysm mortality rate was around 15, 807.
If you suspect yourself or any family member to be showing symptoms of this disease, it is best to call your healthcare provider for an immediate diagnosis. Early treatment will help you avoid the disease and live to see another day with your loved ones.