WHAT IS BRAIN ANEURYSM?
An aneurysm is an abnormal, weak spot on a blood vessel that causes an outward bulging or ballooning of the arterial wall. An aneurysm can affect any vessel in the body but only those in the head can cause a serious medical condition, a haemorrhagic stroke when they rupture, which can lead to brain damage and death.
ARE THE SYMPTOMS SIMILAR TO STROKE?
It has been noticed by most neurosurgeons that most aneurysms are silent. However, aneurysms that become malignant may put pressure on brain, causing symptoms similar to stroke such as:
- Loss of Balance
- Speech Problems
- Double Vision
But, when aneurysms rupture, the symptoms are easily identifiable. These include:
- Sudden, Debilitating Headache
- A Stiff Neck,
- Loss of Consciousness
- Double Vision
DO ALL BRAIN ANEURYSM NEED TO BE TREATED WITH SURGERY?
Doctors debate and decide which aneurysm needs surgery and which aneurysm can simply be monitored. As surgery involves risks, doctors carefully assess the patients’ health and other factors to decide if surgery is unavoidable. Minimally invasive techniques may prevent rupture. Specially trained neurovascular surgeons can direct a catheter containing coils or stents into the intracranial (brain) artery. These coils or stents stimulate scarring with the aneurysm that seal off the aneurysm from the circulation.
WHO ARE AT RISK OF HAVING AN ANEURYSM?
Both men and women are at risk of developing an aneurysm. But, women have a slightly greater chance than men of ruptured aneurysm. Roughly 60 to 65 percent of ruptured aneurysms occur in women. Ruptured aneurysms usually occur between the ages of 30 and 60. Brain aneurysms are rare in children but can occur.
ARE ANEURYSMS GENETIC?
Genetics play an important role in the development and rupture of brain aneurysm. Up to 20 percent of those experiencing ruptured aneurysms have a strong family history. If you have had a history of aneurysms in your family, it’s important to consult a stroke or brain aneurysm specialist to see if you are at increased risk of aneurysm development and rupture. Genetic evaluation also help understand if you are at high risk of ruptured aneurysm.
WHAT ARE THE TIPS FOR PREVENTING ANEURYSMS?
Lifestyle changes can lower the risks of developing and rupture of aneurysm. These lifestyle changes are:
- Smoking is a key risk factor for stroke and aneurysm.
- Persistent high blood pressure stresses the artery walls, providing greater risk for stroke and aneurysm.
- Cocaine and other illegal drugs narrow blood vessels and increasing blood pressure and heart rate.
- Moderate to high alcohol consumption — binge drinking in particular — is associated with brain haemorrhage.