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Article written by Cosimo Simeone, Msc, PgdDip, Bsc, Physiotherapist

An aortic aneurysm is a problem that can happen inside our body, specifically in a big tube called the aorta. The aorta is like a superhighway that carries blood from our heart to the rest of our body. Sometimes, the wall of this tube becomes weak and starts to bulge like a balloon. That bulge is called an aneurysm.

When an aneurysm grows, it can become dangerous. It’s like having a weak spot in the tube, and if it gets too big, it could burst, causing a big problem. Just like a balloon popping! The doctors can use special tools to find an aortic aneurysm and check how big it is. They may want to keep a close eye on it or use surgery to fix it before it gets too big.

But don’t worry! There are things we can do to help prevent aortic aneurysms. Eating healthy food and exercising are like superheroes for our blood vessels. They keep them strong and healthy, so they won’t get weak and form aneurysms.

Remember, our heart and blood vessels work hard to keep us healthy. And we can help them by taking care of our body. So, eat your fruits and veggies, stay active, and listen to your doctor to keep your heart and aorta happy and strong!

Types of aortic aneurysm:

There are two main types of aortic aneurysms: abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA).

  1. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA):
    The abdominal aorta is situated in the belly area, and when an aneurysm forms here, it’s called an abdominal aortic aneurysm or AAA. AAAs can grow slowly over time, and while most don’t cause any symptoms, they can become very big and pose a danger of bursting. If an AAA becomes too large, it can lead to severe internal bleeding, which is an emergency. That’s why doctors keep a close eye on AAA growth through regular check-ups and may suggest surgery if needed to prevent any complications.
  1. Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm (TAA):
    The thoracic aorta is located in the chest area, and an aneurysm in this part of the aorta is called a thoracic aortic aneurysm or TAA. Similar to AAAs, most TAAs don’t cause any symptoms until they grow large or burst. Regular monitoring is essential to detect any changes in the TAA’s size or shape. Depending on its size and location, doctors may recommend treatment options to repair or stabilize the TAA.
  2. Ascending Aortic Aneurysm: It’s considered a subtype of the thoracic aneurysm. The aorta starts at the top of the heart, and that’s the ascending aorta. In some cases, an ascending aortic aneurysm can be linked to a condition called Marfan syndrome.

Preventing aortic aneurysms is crucial for maintaining heart health. While some factors like age and family history are beyond our control. Instead there are several lifestyle choices we can make to reduce the risk.

Symptoms and early signs of the aortic aneurysm:

Aortic aneurysms can be a serious health condition, even for kids to know about. It’s essential to understand the symptoms and early signs to stay safe and healthy (1). Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Pain in the Tummy: If you feel sudden, severe pain in your tummy or belly, especially if it’s really bad, don’t ignore it.
  2. Pain in the Chest: Sometimes, an aortic aneurysm can cause pain in the chest, like a sharp ache. Also, don’t hesitate to let someone know if you’re feeling this way.
  3. Trouble Breathing: You might find it hard to catch your breath or feel like you can’t breathe properly.
  4. Feeling Dizzy or Weak: Aortic aneurysms can make you feel dizzy or weak, like you might faint.
  5. Pulsing Tummy: If your tummy feels like it’s pounding or throbbing.
  6. Cold or Numb Limbs: Your arms or legs may suddenly feel cold or numb. It’s not something to ignore.
  7. Fast Heartbeat: If your heart is beating super fast.

Moreover remember, these signs may not always mean an aortic aneurysm. But it’s better to be safe than sorry. In conclusion, if you notice any of these signs, talk to your parents, teachers, or a doctor right away. They will make sure you get the care you need.

What is the survival rate of aortic aneurysms?

Aortic aneurysms are serious, but with proper care, many people can recover and live normal lives. The survival rate varies depending on factors like size, location, and overall health. When doctors catch an aortic aneurysm early, the chances of survival are higher.

If the aneurysm is small and not causing symptoms, the survival rate is usually good. Doctors will carefully monitor it and suggest lifestyle changes to reduce risks. When an aortic aneurysm grows larger, the risk of rupture increases. A rupture can lead to life-threatening bleeding. To prevent this, doctors may recommend surgery to repair or replace the weakened section of the aorta. Surgery is often successful, but recovery might take time.

In some cases, the aortic aneurysm might not be suitable for surgery due to certain reasons. In these situations, doctors may opt for other treatments, such as stent grafting, to strengthen the aortic wall and prevent further expansion. It’s essential to follow the doctor’s advice closely, take prescribed medications, and attend regular check-ups. This ensures any changes in the aneurysm’s size or condition are detected early.

If an aortic aneurysm ruptures, immediate medical attention is crucial. Emergency surgery is required to stop the bleeding and save the person’s life. The chances of survival in this case are lower, but prompt action can make a significant difference.

Causes of aortic aneurysm:

It’s essential to understand the causes of the aortic aneurysms to protect our hearts. Several factors can lead to an aortic aneurysm (2).

Firstly, high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can put extra stress on the aortic walls. When the pressure is too high, it weakens the aorta and may cause an aneurysm. Secondly, smoking tobacco is harmful, not just for our lungs, but also for our blood vessels. Smoking damages the walls of the aorta, making it more prone to bulging.

Thirdly, certain genetic conditions, like Marfan syndrome, can make the aortic walls less strong from birth. This increases the risk of an aneurysm over time. Additionally, getting older plays a role. As we age, the aortic walls may lose some of their elasticity and become more susceptible to forming an aneurysm.

In some cases, injuries or infections can also lead to aortic aneurysms. Severe injuries or infections can damage the aorta, causing it to weaken and expand. It’s crucial to take care of our health to avoid these risks. Eating a balanced diet, staying active, and not smoking can help keep our blood vessels healthy.

In conclusion, an aortic aneurysm can happen due to high blood pressure, smoking, genetic conditions, aging, injuries, or infections. Taking steps to stay healthy and seeking medical advice when needed can protect our hearts and reduce the chances of developing an aortic aneurysm.

Diagnosis:

Diagnosing aortic aneurysms is like finding secret clues inside your body. Doctors use special tools and tests to discover if you have this condition. Let’s explore how they do it! First, the doctor talks with you and asks about your health. They listen carefully to any symptoms you might have, like pain or unusual feelings in your chest or abdomen.

Next, the doctor performs a physical examination. They gently feel your body to check for any changes or unusual signs that could hint at an aortic aneurysm. Then, comes the detective work! The doctor uses a magic wand called a stethoscope to listen to your heart and blood flow. This helps them pick up any unusual sounds that might lead to clues about the aortic aneurysm.

But wait, there’s more! They use something called an ultrasound, a magic machine that uses sound waves to create pictures of your aorta. These pictures reveal if there’s a bulge or swelling, which could be an aortic aneurysm.

Sometimes, more detailed pictures are needed. Doctors might use a magnetic camera called an MRI or a big donut-shaped machine called a CT scan. These machines take super-duper detailed pictures of your aorta (3).

Blood tests are also part of the investigation! Doctors can learn a lot from your blood to rule out other possible problems or see if your body is giving any extra clues. Once the detective work is done, the doctor puts the puzzle pieces together. They determine if you have an aortic aneurysm and how big it is. This helps them make the best decision for your care.

Prevention and treatments:

Aortic aneurysm is a serious condition, but there are ways to prevent it and treatments available if it occurs. Furthermore, prevention is essential to keep your heart healthy. For this reason I have listed here some examples of prevention and treatment of it.

Prevention:

  1. Eat Healthy: A balanced diet with fruits, veggies, and whole grains is good for your heart.
  2. Stay Active: Exercise regularly to keep your heart strong and healthy.
  3. Avoid Smoking: Smoking harms your blood vessels, increasing the risk of an aneurysm.
  4. Manage Blood Pressure: Check it regularly and follow your doctor’s advice.
  5. Control Cholesterol: High cholesterol can clog arteries, so eat heart-healthy foods.
  6. Watch Your Weight: Maintain a healthy weight to reduce strain on your heart.

I recommend you also to follow this website page for more resources and also to join a community of people with the same disease. Remember you are not alone.

Treatments:

  1. Medications: Doctors may prescribe medications to control blood pressure or cholesterol.
  2. Endovascular Repair: This minimally invasive procedure uses a stent to reinforce the weakened aortic wall.
  3. Open Surgery: In severe cases, surgeons replace the damaged aorta with a synthetic tube.
  4. Regular Checkups: Keep up with medical appointments to monitor your condition.
  5. Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can prevent further complications.

Additionally, I really recommend to book an appointment here with our experts in Physiotherapy and Nutrition to receive a detail exercises program focus on your needs. Furthermore a diet plan in conjunction with exercises program will help even more to have a better lifestyle. And prevent health diseases and this case aortic aneurysm

Our expert have helped many people to improve their physical and general health condition. We cannot wait to hear from you and I hope you enjoyed this article.

Article Designed by Cosimo Simeone

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