A brain aneurysm can occur when a weak spot in the brain’s arterial wall bulges and filled with blood. It can also be referred to as intracranial aneurysm or cerebral aneurysm.

This is a life-threatening condition that can affect anyone, at any age, and at any time. In the case that a brain aneurysm bursts, it must be treated as a serious emergency. 

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Unless it is handled swiftly and promptly, a burst of the brain aneurysm is highly likely to result in stroke, brain damage, and possibly death. With that being said, it’s important to know what aneurysm is and how we can avoid it.

In this article, we will go through its symptoms, causes, treatments as well as what you need to know, so it doesn’t happen to you.

Types of a Brain Aneurysm 

Brain aneurysms can take many physical forms. The most common and majority types are saccular or “berry” aneurysms. It is commonly referred to as berry as the sac formed outside the artery is very similar in shape.

A fusiform aneurysm is one that causes the bulge to occur all the way around and is very rare. A dissecting aneurysm occurs when there is a tear in one of the arteries. It will leak blood into the other layers and block the artery.  

Symptoms

Aneurysms can occur at any time without any noticeable symptoms during the lead up to its development. However, in some cases, there are warning signs and symptoms that you may experience before the artery ruptures.

Symptoms of an unruptured aneurysm include:

  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Blurry vision
  • Visual defects
  • Seizures

If any of these symptoms occur, seek advice from your doctor as soon as possible. With early intervention and treatment, you may be able to avoid the artery from rupturing and causing significant health complications. 

Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Stiff neck
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dropping eyelids
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

If any of these symptoms occur, treat it as a medical emergency and seek medical attention right away. 

Causes

An aneurysm can occur as a result of other health complications, including:

Marfan’s syndrome – this condition is inherited and affects the genes that control the formation of connective tissues in the body. Damage to the structure of the arteries can lead to brain aneurysms. 

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) – also an inherited condition, this condition can produce cobweb-like pockets filled with fluid in the brain tissue. In turn, it can increase blood pressure and weaken blood vessels in the brain and lead to brain aneurysms. 

Traumatic brain injury – When a tear occurs in the tissue of the brain due to physical injury, it can create what is known as a dissecting aneurysm. A serious infection in the body can lead to an aneurysm. 

Other causes and contributing factors of aneurysm include:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Intense anger
  • Stress
  • Excess consumption of coffee or soda
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Physical head injuries

Risk Factors

Brain aneurysms can happen to anyone, however people with atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) are at a much higher risk. People with the following risk factors may have a higher chance of developing brain aneurysms: 

  • Being between the ages of 35 to 60
  • Women are more likely to develop it as opposed to men
  • A family history of people who have suffered from an aneurysm.
  • Smoking
  • Head trauma
  • Drug abuse
  • Cerebral arteriovenous malformation
  • congenital narrowing of the aorta known as coarctation

Treatments

There are many types of treatments your doctor can provide for you based on your health and circumstances. Treatment offered for an aneurysm is often determined by how accessible it is for surgery, its size, severity level, and whether it has ruptured or not.

Pain medication is usually administered for headaches and eye pain. After your doctor has diagnosed you with an aneurysm, surgery such as endovascular coiling and surgical clipping will be suggested.

The objective of surgery for an aneurysm is to cut off blood flow to the aneurysm to prevent a rupture of any further growth. 

If you have previously had a brain aneurysm, or are looking to decrease its risk of occurring, here are a few things you can do to lessen the chances of its development:

  • Quit smoking
  • Manage stress 
  • Exercise regularly, but not excessively
  • Manage high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Eat nutrient-dense, fresh foods 

Depending on the severity of the damage, recovery after surgery can take up to weeks to a month. There may also be permanent damage or inability to ever fully recover depending on the severity of damage in the blood vessels. It’s essential to seek a doctor when you notice irregular in your health.

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.