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AORTIC ANEURYSM

You may be quite aware of the fact that aorta is the largest artery (blood vessel) in the human body. It originates from the left ventricle of the heart. It is extended to the abdomen where it splits into two. The major function of the aorta is to transport oxygenated blood from the heart to the other parts of the body.

Aneurysm is the condition when the artery wall widen abnormally or expands or balloon out. The weakening of the artery walls causes aneurysm. The weakened artery wall balloon out because of the pressure of the flowing blood inside the artery. Aneurysm may occur because of a variety of causes like high blood pressure, trauma, congenital condition, atherosclerosis etc. Aneurysm can occur in any artery, but aortic aneurysm is the most common type.

What is aortic aneurysm?

Aortic Aneurysm occurs when the walls of the aorta bulges outward. It is basically the enlargement of the aorta to greater than 1.5 times the normal size. It is not an uncommon condition and the risk of aortic aneurysm increases after 65 years of age, according to studies. It is hardly seen in people before 60 years of age. You can read here the causes, symptoms, treatment for different types of aortic aneurysm.

Causes of Aortic Aneurysm

The exact causes of aortic aneurysm are not traced yet. The wall of the aorta is elastic in nature and stretches and shrinks adapting to the pressure of the blood flow. The wear and tear occurring with old age may result in the weakening of the artery walls along with other physical conditions like high blood pressure, atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries etc. This in turn may cause swelling or bulging outward of the aorta and hence the condition.


Types of Aortic Aneurysm

There are mainly two major types of aortic aneurysms. They are:

  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm. 

Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
This is a rare condition when the upper part of aorta within the chest bulges out. If the aneurysm is big, the risk of rupture is high and the patient may be in danger.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
This condition occurs when the lower part of the aorta within the abdomen expands out. It is the localized enlargement of the abdominal aorta in a way that the diameter is greater than 3 cm or more than 50% larger than normal diameter.
Symptoms of Aortic Aneurysm
Symptoms of aortic aneurysm are hardly visible in patients, which is makes it difficult to detect. As the abdominal aneurysm expands wider, patient may experience pulsating sensation or pain in the abdomen. It can be accompanied with pain in the chest, back, or legs. In rare cases, the aneurysm may rupture causing severe bleeding and drop in blood pressure.
Treatment for Aortic Aneurysm
Aortic aneurysm can be confirmed through an ultrasound scan. The size of the aneurysm plays a role in the choice of treatment. If the aneurysm is small, it can be treated with high blood pressure medicines, proper diet and exercise. If the size is big and fast-growing, a surgery is preferred in which the damaged part of blood vessel is fixed.    

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