Brain Aneurysm

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Brain Aneurysm

A Brain Aneurysm is a condition in which there is ballooning or bulging of a blood vessel of your brain. It may rupture or leak which may result in bleeding in the brain. This is termed as a hemorrhagic stroke.

The space between the thin tissues that cover the brain and the brain is the most common spot for the occurrence of a ruptured Brain Aneurysm. It is often referred to as subarachnoid hemorrhage.

A ruptured aneurysm may prove to be life-threatening, thereby requiring an urgent need for medical treatment. While most of the aneurysms don’t rupture, they may cause symptoms and create health problems. 

Causes of Brain Aneurysm

Common in people over the age of 40 years, Brain Aneurysm may occur at any age. Some may also have a defect in the blood vessels by birth. You may observe a significant female predilection. The sections where the blood vessels branch off are weaker. Brain Aneurysms are common at these places and mostly occur in the base of the brain. There are some factors responsible for the rupture of an already existing Brain Aneurysm. They may be:

  • Excess straining during bowel movements
  • Startling
  • Excessive exercise
  • Intense anger
  • Coffee consumption

 

Damage to the structure of the arteries may result in weakness and cause Brain Aneurysms. If a serious infection in the body damages the arteries, it may lead to a Brain Aneurysm. Sometimes, chronic high blood pressure and smoking are also possible causes for brain aneurysms.

Symptoms of Brain Aneurysm

Unruptured Aneurysm:
You may not notice any symptoms for an unruptured Brain Aneurysm, especially if it is a small one. However, the larger ones may press the nerves and tissues of the brain. Ultimately it may result in-

  • Double vision or change in vision
  • Pain above one eye
  • Numbness on a side of the face
  • Dilated pupil

 

Leaking Aneurysm:
Sometimes, an aneurysm may leak some amount of blood that is called sentinel bleeding. This leaking may result in an extremely severe and sudden headache.

Ruptured Aneurysm:
One of the chief symptoms of a ruptured Brain Aneurysm is a severe sudden headache. It is sometimes referred to as the worst headache that you will experience. Some other symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm include:

  • Nausea
  • Double vision or blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Stiff neck
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion

Diagnosis of Brain Aneurysm

There are several tests and different types of scans that help in determining whether you have a Brain Aneurysm or not.

MRI: Your doctor will ask you to lie on a table that will slide into a scanner. It uses radio waves and a magnetic field to create detailed images of your blood vessels and brain. It has the ability to detect Brain Aneurysms that are larger than 5 millimeters.

CT Scans: This type of examination creates the images of the brain. Similar to MRI, you will lie on a table that slides into the CT scanner. The technician will inject a dye into one of the veins to aid in seeing the blood flow while spotting aneurysms in your brain.

Angiogram: It is one of the most reliable tests to detect aneurysms. It depicts the weaker spots of your blood vessels. Your doctor will be inserting a small flexible tube called a catheter through the blood vessels in your leg. He or she will guide the catheter into the blood vessels of your neck that extend up to the brain. He or she will take X-rays after injecting a contrast dye to view all the blood vessels in your brain. This helps the doctor to easily figure out the location of the Brain Aneurysm.

CSF test: Your doctor may recommend you cerebrospinal fluid test if he or she notices the symptoms of a ruptured Brain Aneurysm. The technician will inject a needle to draw out the spinal fluid. Your doctor will test the fluid to check whether it has blood that indicates a ruptured Brain Aneurysm.

Treatment options for Brain Aneurysm

For Unruptured Brain Aneurysm

There may not be a need for the treatment of small and unruptured aneurysms. Some lifestyle changes can help you prevent the leaking of the aneurysm like:

  • Avoid stimulant drugs or cocaine
  • Take a proper diet and exercise regularly to lower your blood pressure
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects to avoid a rise in your blood pressure
  • Stop smoking
  • Restrict the consumption of caffeine because it may cause your blood pressure to elevate.

For Ruptured Brain Aneurysm

For a ruptured Brain Aneurysm, you need prompt treatment as it may bleed again. There’s a need to stop the blood flow into the ruptured aneurysm. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment possible based on the location, size, type of the aneurysm and your health.

Surgical clipping

Your doctor will remove a section of your skull to locate the aneurysm. He or she will place a metal clip at the opening of the ruptured Brain Aneurysm to cut off the flow of blood. The doctor will then shut the skull and seal it.

Endovascular coiling

Your doctor will insert a flexible tube called a catheter into the groin region of your body to reach the affected blood vessels. This will help to locate the aneurysm. He or she will then send platinum coils through the flexible tube and place it inside the aneurysm. The coils stop the blood flow to the aneurysm.

Flow diverter surgery

It is for aneurysms of a larger size where neither the clipping nor the coiling will work. This procedure involves the insertion of a stent inside the artery. It is usually a metal mesh. The stent acts as a wall inside the vessel to divert the blood flow away from the aneurysm.

Lifestyle changes​

  • Regular exercise
  • Quitting smoking
  • Managing the blood pressure and cholesterol level
  • Eating a balanced diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and low-fat dairy products.

 

These small lifestyle changes may help significantly to manage Brain Aneurysms.

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