Aortic Aneurysm Prevention
Aortic aneurysms are most often caused by damage to the artery walls due to atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is caused by a buildup of cholesterol and other fatty deposits and also by hypertension (high blood pressure). Other causes include a congenital or genetic propensity for weakness of the arterial walls. The first step in prevention involves living a healthy lifestyle.
Help Reduce Your Risk of Aortic Aneurysms
You can lower your risk of developing an aortic aneurysm through several methods:
- Eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet
- Get active. Take part every day in an activity that increases your heart rate to the rate recommended for your age and overall condition. WellStar recommends at least 30 minutes of rigorous activity each day.
- Don’t smoke
- Control your blood pressure
- Understand your personal and family medical history. Some aneurysms may be hereditary. Knowing if your family has a history of aneurysms can help you and your WellStar physician determine if and when you should begin screening.
Tests and Screenings for Aortic Aneurysms
Often, aortic aneurysms are discovered when you undergo a medical test or procedure for another reason. A WellStar physician may suspect the presence of an aneurysm based upon a pulsating abdomen on physical examination or a blood pressure difference between the two arms.
Aneurysms can be detected through X-ray or by imaging techniques including:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Computed Tomography (CT) scan
In an estimated 20 percent of the cases, the first sign or symptom of an aneurysm comes immediately after a rupture that can lead to death within minutes or hours because of blood loss.