The Most Common Cause of an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
July 19, 2021

The Most Common Cause of an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is sometimes called a silent killer because many people who die from aneurysms do not know they have them beforehand.  An abdominal aortic aneurysm is detectable in some cases, however.  Here is everything you need to know about the symptoms and causes of abdominal aortic aneurysm.

What Is an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?

Abdominal refers to the abdomen, or stomach area.  The aorta is the major blood vessel that supplies blood to the chest, abdomen, pelvis, and legs.  If the walls of the aorta become weak, the blood flowing through can cause them to expand outwards.  This is called an aneurysm. 

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Symptoms

One of the reasons these aneurysms cause such trouble is that there are often no symptoms.  People can die from an abdominal aortic aneurysm without ever having heard about it from their doctor beforehand.  Aneurysms grow larger and larger until they rupture, which can be fatal.  If there are symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm growing, they include:

· Pain in the abdomen

· Pulsing sensation in the abdomen

· Stiff or rigid abdomen

If the walls of the aorta have broken, the abdominal aortic aneurysm symptoms may include:

· Abdominal or back pain that is severe, sudden, and persistent

· Pale, clammy skin

· Dizziness

· Dry mouth or excessive thirst

· Nausea and vomiting

· Low blood pressure

· Shock: shaking, fainting, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and sudden weakness

If you experience any of these symptoms, get medical help immediately.  A ruptured aneurysm is a life-threatening situation.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Causes

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is caused by a weakness in the wall of the aorta.  The number one risk factor for this medical issue is smoking.  Smokers die four times more often from a ruptured aneurysm than non-smokers.  Men are more likely to have an abdominal aortic aneurysm than women.  Family history is another major risk factor, as are high blood pressure and old age.  Talk to your doctor if you have any of these risk factors.  Most people who experience an abdominal aortic aneurysm have more than one risk factor, generally, smoking combined with other factors.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Detection and Treatment

If you are at high risk for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, your doctor will likely recommend an ultrasound.  A CT scan may also be done to figure out the size of an aneurysm.  Small aneurysms that are detected early won’t necessarily lead to a medical emergency.  There are steps you can take to lower risk, like regular checkups.  If the aneurysm continues to grow, you may need surgery to remove it.  A ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm requires immediate emergency surgery.

Lowering Risk for an Abdominal aortic Aneurysm

The best thing you can do to avoid developing an aneurysm is to not smoke.  Smoking is the most common cause of an abdominal aortic aneurysm as well as many other health problems.  Exercising daily can also be beneficial, as can lifestyle changes that help lower your blood pressure.  If you are at risk, don’t put off talking to a doctor about steps you can take to protect your health.

Need an Expert’s Advice?

If you smoke and also have other risk factors of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, it is essential that you talk to a doctor as soon as possible. South Valley Vascular can answer all your questions about vascular health.  They are experts in the field and have three locations conveniently located in Visalia, Porterville, and Hanford, California.  Don’t wait.  You could be risking your life. Call (559) 625-4118 or visit South Valley Vascular online to schedule an appointment today.