Heart Disease and Aortic Aneurysm
Aneurysm is characterized by the abnormal bulge which is found in the wall of an artery. In normal cases the walls of arteries are very thick and are muscular in nature which allow them to withstand the compression and pressure. But in some cases some weak areas may develop in the walls of arteries. This in return pushes the arteries pressure outwards which can be easily seen in the form of balloon called aneurysm.
Aneurysms have the tendency to develop in any blood vessels but they are most likely to develop in aorta which is the largest artery found in human body. The function of aorta is to carry the blood from the pumping heart to the rest of body parts. The aortic aneurysms are known to develop in the two main parts.
- Abdominal Aortic aneurysms: it affects the pat of aorta which normally passes from middle to the lower end of the abdomen.
- Thoracic aortic aneurysms: it mainly occurs in places where aorta passes through the chest cavity. This type is less common type of aneurysms.
If the aneurysms is small then don’t worry it is not panic and is not linked with any threat. But it may increase the risk factors for other disease:
- At the site where aneurysm develop the atherosclerosis plaque may form. Hence weakening of the artery wall is facilitated by aneurysms.
- The chance of stroke increase as the blood clots can be easily formed on places where aneurysms occurs.
- In case when aneurysms increases in size it may suppress the other body parts and hence initiate pain.
- Aneurysm rupture can happen easily as the artery wall becomes thin it become fragile and burst under the application of stress. The bursting is a just like a catastrophe and is life threatening.
Causes of Aortic Aneurysms
It is normally caused by the following factors:
- The weakening of the arterial walls due to atherosclerosis which is also known as hardening of the arteries
- It can be triggered by high blood pressure
- Any injury to the artery
- It can be easily caused by the congenital abnormality, which is itself characterized by number of conditions like Marfan syndrome or aortic valves which are present by birth and are known to cause the weakening of the artery walls
- It can be triggered with aging
- The least common cause of thoracic aneurysms is the syphilis
Symptoms of Aortic Aneurysm
It has no real symptoms. The symptoms may include:
- The tearing pain in the abdomen, chest and in the middle of the shoulder and back
- It may cause hoarseness, shortness of breath, cough which is associated with the pressure on the airways and lungs, and difficulty in the swallowing caused by the pressure in the esophagus
- In case of the rupture the loss of consciousness, shock, stroke and heart attack are very common
If you are feeling any of the above condition then immediately report your doctor in order to get early response
How Are Aortic Aneurysms Diagnosed?
As there are no prominent symptoms of aortic aneurysm the diagnosis is very difficult. Your doctor may diagnose it during an exam. It can cause heart murmur while in stomach it can be felt as a pulsating mass.
In most of the cases the patient is at the highest risk of developing a rupture as their size increases. You doctor always advice you to get it repaired when it becomes 5 cm wider. The test which can be used to detect them are:
- They can be easily traced with ultrasound
- A dye can be used to test the affected area known as angiography
- MRI i.e. magnetic resonance imaging
- A CT scan can also aid in finding the aortic aneurysm
Treatment of Aortic Aneurysms
The normal and small aortic aneurysm can be monitored and investigated for symptoms without any medication. In case if it becomes severe or large then it can be easily removed and grafted by an artificial materials by surgery. If aortic aneurysm become closer to aortic valve then the only treatment is the valve replacement.
The surgery is very tricky and complicated and can be performed by only the experienced surgical specialists. However to ignore the aortic aneurysm is always a risk. The surgery requires opening of abdomen and chest, additionally anesthesia is also required and minimum hospitalization is of a week.
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