is a balloon like bulge in an artery. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen rich blood to the body. Arteries have thick walls to withstand normal blood pressure. However, certain medical problems, genetic conditions and trauma can damage or injure artery walls. The force of blood pushing against the weakened or injured walls can cause an aneurysm.
An aneurysm can grow large and rupture or dissect. A rupture causes dangerous bleeding inside the body. A dissection is a split in one or more layers of the artery wall. The split causes bleeding into and along the layers of the artery wall. Both rupture and dissection often are fatal.
Aneurysms can develop in any blood vessel anywhere in the body, but the two most common places for them to form are in the abdominal aorta (the artery that transports blood away from the heart to the rest of the body) and the brain. The medical term for an aneurysm that develops inside the brain is an intracranial or cerebral aneurysm. Most brain aneurysms will only cause noticeable symptoms if they burst (rupture).
This will then lead to an extremely serious condition known as a subarachnoid haemorrhage, where bleeding caused by the ruptured aneurysm can cause extensive brain damage and symptoms such as:
a sudden agonising headache – it has been described as a ‘thunderclap headache’, similar to a sudden hit on the head, resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
sickness and vomiting
pain on looking at light
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a swelling (aneurysm) of the aorta – the main blood vessel that leads away from the heart, down through the abdomen to the rest of the body. The abdominal aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. A ruptured aneurysm can cause massive internal bleeding, which is usually fatal. The most common symptom of a ruptured aortic aneurysm is sudden and severe pain in the abdomen.
The best way to prevent getting an aneurysm – or reduce the risk of an aneurysm growing bigger and possibly rupturing – is to avoid anything that could damage your blood vessels, such as: smoking; eating a high-fat diet; not exercising regularly; being overweight or obese.
Medical Emergency: A ruptured brain or abdominal aneurysm is a medical emergency. If you suspect that you or someone in your care has had a ruptured brain or abdominal aneurysm, call immediately for an ambulance.
Brain Aneurysm Foundation