Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is also known as a triple-A syndrome. This disease is a congenital disorder.

Aorta is the largest blood vessel that extends from the heart through the center of the chest to the abdominal. 

This artery supplies blood from the heart to the head, arms, legs, pelvic, and abdominal. 

If the walls of this main blood vessel aorta become weak, it can swell like a small balloon, and this condition is called Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm or triple-A. 

This condition neither shows any signs & symptoms nor causes any problem or discomfort, but a ruptured aneurysm (bulging artery wall) can be life-threatening. 

Symptoms of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is difficult to detect. Usually, they are asymptomatic and grow gradually without showing any early signs.  

Some aneurysm stays small, and some continue to grow and expand very quickly, and some develop slowly. 

If you’re suffering from an abdominal aortic aneurysm, you might experience the following symptoms-

  • Sudden and Constant deep pain in your abdomen, or on the side of the abdomen
  • You may felt a pulse near your belly button
  • Back pain (especially lower back)
  • Chest pain
  • Sweaty skin
  • Fast or increased heart rate

Some aneurysm gets ruptured while some do not.

Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm-

  • Sudden and severe pain 
  • Blood pressure drops 
  • Signs of shocks
  • Loss of consciousness 

Causes of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

An aneurysm can occur in any part of the aorta, but mostly, it occurs in the aorta located in your abdomen area.

Several factors are responsible for the development of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. 

The causes include- 

  • Atherosclerosis 
  • Trauma
  • Infection in the aorta
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Vasculitis (Blood vessel diseases)
  • Smoking 
  • Age 

Atherosclerosis 

Atherosclerosis condition occurs when plaque (fat, high cholesterol, and other substances) accumulates in the artery’s inner walls, and it prevents the blood from flowing. 

Trauma

Any traumatic incident such as a car accident or something else can cause Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. 

Infection in the aorta

Any bacterial or fungal infection in the aorta’s lining or walls can lead to Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Over time, hypertension or high BP can weaken and damage the walls of your aorta and can cause Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.

Vasculitis (Blood vessel diseases)

Vasculitis refers to blood vessel diseases that can cause severe inflammation in the arteries.

Smoking 

Smoking directly affects the walls and lining of arteries and can make them bulge. Smoking also increases the chances of high blood pressure.

Smoking and hypertension together increase the likelihood of an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.

Age 

After the age of 60, the Risk of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm increases even more.

Diagnosis 

Numerous methods are there to Diagnose Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.

 They include-

  • Physical exam
  • Ultrasound of abdominal 
  • CT Scan
  • Chest X-Ray 
  • Radiography
  • Ultrasonography
  • MRI 
  • Angiography 

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Treatment

The main purpose of the treatment is to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing because a ruptured aneurysm is life-threatening and needs immediate medical attention. 

The type of treatment depends on several factors like the location and size of the aortic aneurysm, patient’s age, health condition, medical history, and signs & symptoms.  

Usually, doctors recommend repair if your aneurysm is 1.9-2.2 inches. 

If your aortic aneurysm is bigger than 2.2 inches or you have a leaking or suffering from unbearable pain, then doctors recommend surgery.

  • Endovascular repair

Endovascular repair is a slightly less invasive procedure than open abdominal surgery. Doctors often use this procedure. 

In this procedure, small incisions took place in the groin area, a catheter attached with a synthetic graft (synthetic blood vessel) will be inserted in your leg through an artery and thread them up to the aneurysm. 

The doctor inserts a stent graft and attaches it to the wall of the aorta to support the aneurysm. 

After the endovascular repair surgery, you will need to go for regular imaging tests to ensure that the repair is not leaking. 

  • Open surgery  

Open abdominal surgery involves removing the damaged section of the aorta.

In this procedure, a deep incision will be made in the abdomen, and a synthetic graft will be placed by removing the damaged aorta. 

After replacing the damaged aorta, the incision will be stitched up with suture.

It may take one month or more to recover correctly after the surgery.    

Risk factors

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms are more likely to occur if you are any of the following-

  • Any family history of this disease or any other heart diseases
  • Use of Tobacco 
  • Are male 
  • Age: over 60 years  
  • Are overweight
  • Have Hypertension
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Suffering from Atherosclerosis 

If you are at a high risk of developing this condition, then you should follow some prevention measures to avoid aortic aneurysm to some extent.  

Prevention measures 

Quit tobacco: Smoking and tobacco increase the chances of aortic aneurysm. Avoid using tobacco and reduce the risk. 

Take a healthy diet: Eat healthy and stay healthy. Focus on eating a variety of green leafy vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products. Avoid or reduce the consumption of salt, saturated fat, trans fat.

Maintain your blood pressure and cholesterol in control: Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in control, hypertension and high cholesterol invite many other health issues. 

  • Avoid stress
  • Eat omega-3 rich food
  • Avoid junk and oily food
  • Reduce or avoid saturated fat
  • Increase the intake of soluble fiber and whey protein

Maintain a healthy weight: Exercise daily to maintain a healthy weight. Reduce your fat intakes

Exercise daily: Exercise has numerous health benefits. Exercise lowers the risk of developing any disease.

Here are the few benefits of exercise:

  • Helps to maintain a healthy weight
  • Helps to keep the sugar level maintained in the body
  • Improve your mental and physical health
  • Reduces the risk of diseases, especially heart disease
  • Helps to quit smoking
  • It makes your bones and muscles healthier. 

The chances of an aortic aneurysm increase with age and some other factors like smoking. 

To reduce the chances, doctors may prescribe you some medicines to keep your blood pressure and sugar level healthy. 

Follow the mentioned precautions to avoid this serious health issue. 

If you’re experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, consult a doctor without wasting any time. An untreated aortic aneurysm can be fatal.

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