Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a swollen or enlarged area in the lower part of the major vessel that normally supplies or delivers blood to the body (aorta). The aorta runs from the heart passing through the center of the chest and abdomen and it is the largest blood vessel in the body.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm can be dangerous if it is not noticed early and tackled. It may grow bigger over time and could burst (rupture), causing life-threatening bleeding.
What is the Aorta?
Aorta is a large artery at the end of your heart’s aortic valve. The aorta transports oxygenated blood from your heart to the rest parts of your body. It goes through the chest, where it is known as the thoracic aorta, and into the abdomen, where it is known as the abdominal aorta. From there it splits into separate arteries that carry blood to your legs and feet.
Causes of Abdominal aortic aneurysm
The diseases listed below can damage the blood vessel walls or may cause weak spots where aneurysms might develop:
- The use of tobacco causes loss of structural proteins in the artery walls leading to reduced wall strength.
- Atherosclerosis (plaque build inside your arteries).
- Vasculitis (blood vessel inflammation).
- Peripheral artery disease.
- Traumatic injuries.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Research shows that it may as well relate to genes inherited from parents.
Uses of the tobacco
Smoking is the biggest risk factor for aortic aneurysms. Smoking will make the walls of the aorta weak, increasing the risk of aortic aneurysm and aneurysm rupture. The more you smoke or chew tobacco, the greater your chances of developing an aortic aneurysm. Sometimes Doctors recommend an abdominal ultrasound to screen for an abdominal aortic aneurysm in men ages 60 to 75 who are cigarette smokers.
Research has it that abdominal aortic aneurysms occur mostly in people aged 65 and above.
Men have greater chances of developing abdominal aortic aneurysms than women do.
People whose skins are white are at higher risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Coming from a family that has a history of abdominal aortic aneurysms increases the risk of having the condition.
Having an aneurysm in another bigger blood vessel, such as the aorta in the chest or the artery behind the knee may increase the risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Symptoms of Abdominal aortic aneurysm
Most people having abdominal aortic aneurysms don’t usually have symptoms. But they may notice symptoms if the aneurysm grows bigger and puts pressure on surrounding organs.
General abdominal pain is the most common symptom which may be constant or comes and go
Other symptoms may include:
- Chest pain, pain in the belly (abdomen), lower back pain, or flank (over the kidneys). It may circulate to the groin, buttocks, or legs. The pain may be deep aching or throbbing and may last for some hours or days.
- A sharp pulsating feeling in the belly.
- A “cold foot” or a black painful toe. This can occur if an aneurysm produces a blood clot that breaks off and blocks the flow of blood to the legs or feet.
- Fever or weight loss may occur if the aneurysm was caused by infection or inflammation.
Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm
When an aortic aneurysm bursts or ruptures, it causes:
- Sudden and severe pain.
- Signs of shock.
- A huge drop in blood pressure.
If not treated immediately, it can quickly lead to death.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm Treatment in Waco, TX
As an aneurysm grows bigger in size, the wall of the aorta becomes weaker. The aim of any treatment strategy is to prevent an aneurysm from rupturing by controlling the growth of the aneurysm.
The treatment option to be used depends on the size of the aortic aneurysm. If your aortic aneurysm is small, your doctor will continue to monitor it and recommend treatments to prevent it from growing bigger.
Non-surgical treatment options include:
- Controlling dietary fat intake
- Controlling blood sugar if diabetic
- Losing weight if obese or overweight
- Quit smoking
- Medications to control elevated levels of fats in the blood
- Medications to control high blood pressure
It may not require surgical attention until they grow to a certain size or increase in size. Surgery may also be required if you have a painful, tender, or leaking aortic aneurysm.
Surgical abdominal aortic aneurysm treatment options include:
This surgery is used to repair these diseases. The procedure involves inserting a catheter through an artery in the leg into the aorta. A graft is placed at the site of the aneurysm to expand and fasten it in place. The weakened part of the aorta is strengthened by the graft to prevent rupture of the aneurysm.
Open abdominal surgery
This surgery involves removing the part of the aorta that is damaged and replacing it with a graft.
How serious is an abdominal aortic aneurysm?
It may cause several complications, which can be very serious or even life-threatening. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is also known as a silent killer.
What is the most common cause of abdominal aortic aneurysm?
Several types of research have proven that smoking is actually the most common cause of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Is abdominal aortic aneurysm curable?
Of course, an abdominal aortic aneurysm is very curable. When these symptoms are noticed early, treatment is effective and the aneurysm is curable. Aneurysms are often noticed while performing tests for entirely different reasons. Most patients do not notice any symptoms, so if you are at risk, it is important to talk with your doctor.
Can you survive an abdominal aortic aneurysm?
Of course, you can live with it, and there are so many ways to prevent dissection (splitting of the blood vessel wall that makes blood leak) or worse, a rupture (a burst aneurysm). Some abdominal aortic aneurysms are hereditary or congenital, like a bicuspid aortic valve, infection, or inflammatory conditions.
Are there warning signs before an aortic aneurysm?
There are warning signs and symptoms that an aortic aneurysm might be suspected. Some of these signs are:
- Difficulty in breathing such as shortness of breath
- Intense or sudden abdominal pain
- Pulsating enlargement or tender mass in an abdomen
- Swallowing difficulties
- Severe pain in the chest
- Coughing up blood
- Loss of consciousness
- Back pain
How do you know if you have an aneurysm in your stomach?
If you have an enlarging abdominal aortic aneurysm, you might notice the following:
- You might notice a pulse near the bellybutton
- Constant pain within the belly area or side of the belly
- Back pain
Is it normal to feel the aorta in the abdomen?
It is normal to feel the pulse in your stomach. What you’re concerned about is your pulse in your abdominal aorta. The aorta is the main artery that transports blood from the heart to the rest of the body. It runs through the heart, down the center of your chest, then into your abdomen.
What foods to avoid if you have an aortic aneurysm?
The following foods are bad for your aortic health:
- High cholesterol foods.
- Refined, white carbohydrates.
- Processed, packaged foods.
- Margarine and butter.
- Fried foods.
- Sugary drinks, such as soda.
- Full-fat dairy products.
- Fatty meats, such as red meat.