Brain Aneurysm

What is a Brain Aneurysm?

A brain aneurysm is a problem with one of the arteries that supplies blood to the brain. When a person is suffering from a brain aneurysm, they have a weakening in one of the arteries that supplies blood to the brain. A weakened artery stretches out and bulges causing blood to pool in the area.

If a person has a brain aneurysm, it can burst or rupture. This rupture will cause bleeding on the brain which, in turn, can cause serious health consequences, even death. When brain aneurysms occur, it is most often in the bundled blood vessels at the base of the brain. However, they can occur elsewhere as well.

There are numerous possible causes of brain aneurysms, some of which can be helped and some that cannot. The tendency toward brain aneurysms can be passed down genetically. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can also cause a brain aneurysm as can smoking. A brain injury could also cause a brain aneurysm.

What are the Symptoms of a Brain Aneurysm?

Most of the time, a person does not experience any symptoms when they have a brain aneurysm unless it ruptures. However, sometimes symptoms do occur.

Symptoms include

Some of these brain aneurysm symptoms can include dilated pupils, pain or pressure behind the eyes, vision blurring or vision problems, a droopy eyelid, weakness, numbness, or partial paralysis, seizures, and headaches.

Brain Aneurysms Causes

Brain aneurysms are caused by a weakness in an area of one of the arteries in the brain, or as a result of abnormal levels of pressure. These conditions can be caused by several things. It’s possible that a person can simply be genetically susceptible to them. They can also be caused by the hardening of the arteries, which is called atherosclerosis, or just as a result of aging. Brain traumas and high blood pressure can also cause them to form.

There is also a rare form known as myotic aneurysm. This particular type of brain aneurysm is caused by infections of the artery wall.

How is a Brain Aneurysm Treated?

The treatment for a brain aneurysm depends on the severity and what caused the issue.

Treatment includes

Lifestyle changes can help to prevent a brain aneurysm from growing or worsening. These changes can include quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise (but not overdoing it), and lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol. Prescription medications may be used for blood pressure and cholesterol issues and to prevent strokes.

Surgery is an option for a brain aneurysm that shows danger of rupturing or does rupture. This can include clipping the aneurysm which means blocking off the artery or arteries that feed into the aneurysm.  The remaining blood in the aneurysm will drain out and it will no longer run the risk of rupture. A procedure known as endovascular coiling is also an option and involves using a catheter to move a wire into the aneurysm causing it to clot and close off.

Brain Aneurysms Prevention

Fortunately there are many simple ways to reduce the risk of aneurysms forming. Stopping smoking can significantly reduce your risk of developing an aneurysm. High blood pressure also significantly increases the risk of developing an aneurysm.

There are many great ways to reduce your blood pressure. Eating a healthy diet can result in major change. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and to reduce the amount of processed foods consumed. Regular exercise can also really help as it keeps the heart and blood vessels in great condition. Even 20 minutes a day three times a week can lead to improvement. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important. If you are overweight try to stay away from high calorie foods like processed foods and sugary drinks – cutting these out of your diet is often enough to see improvement. Doctors also advise not drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week as this can lead to higher blood pressure. Finally, cutting down on caffeine can have a positive impact. Some caffeine in tea or coffee is fine, as long as it’s not overdone, but it’s best to avoid very high caffeine drinks such as energy drinks.

Another great way to reduce the risk of an aneurysm forming is by reducing stress levels. This can be accomplished through reducing things that trigger anxiety, making sure you’re not overworked, and engaging in hobbies you enjoy.