An aortic aneurysm is a life-threatening condition that affects the aorta, the large blood vessel that carries blood to your body. It passes through your chest and on down to your abdomen. When an abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs, there is a weak spot in your aorta that begins to bulge or become enlarged. If the aneurysm swells to a considerable size, it can reach the breaking point and rupture. This can lead to internal bleeding that is severe, cutting off the blood supply to the lower portion of your body.
If you have been diagnosed with an aortic abdominal aneurysm, our medical team will begin by monitoring your condition to determine if it is safe to wait for treatment or to operate immediately. In the event that your abdominal aortic aneurysm ruptures, you must have emergency surgery to repair it immediately. If at all possible, you want to avoid a rupture.
What Causes an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?
No one knows the actual reason that abdominal aortic aneurysms occur. However, there are factors that may put you at risk of developing this condition. If you have high blood pressure, you may be more likely to become a victim of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. High blood pressure puts a great strain on your blood vessels. Over time, this strain could cause your vessels to become weak and an aneurysm could form.
Smoking is another risk factor. When you smoke, your arteries actually become damaged. You also set yourself up for the double whammy of high blood pressure. In rare cases, infections involving your vascular system could be linked to a weakening of your aorta. Abdominal aortic aneurysms have affected athletes who use steroids to enhance their physical performance.
Who is at Greatest Risk of Developing the Condition?
Various factors may put you at a greater risk of suffering from an aortic abdominal aneurysm. Men are more likely to develop this condition. It often strikes victims over the age of 60. If you smoke, you are overweight or you lead an inactive lifestyle, this condition may be more likely to occur. High blood pressure, diabetes and a history of heart problems in the family are other factors that increase the risk of developing an aortic abdominal aneurysm. The condition could develop after an abdominal injury as well.
What to Do if You Have an Aortic Abdominal Aneurysm
If you have a small abdominal aortic aneurysm that is less than 6 cm in size, there is a good chance that our team at Peripheral Vascular Associates will monitor it closely to avoid surgery. However, you will most likely require surgery if your abdominal aortic aneurysm is larger than 7 cm or it is growing quickly. In the event of a rupture, you will require immediate surgery to repair the damages.
Make an appointment to discuss your aneurysm with our doctor in order to determine the best course of treatment for you. You can live with an abdominal aortic aneurysm, but you need to have the support of a knowledgeable medical team. Peripheral Vascular Associates has locations in San Antonio, Boerne, Corpus Christi, Del Rio, Floresville, Hondo, Jourdanton, New Braunfels and Uvalde. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.