Three Major Causes of an Aneurysm

Dr. Philip Henkin

November 15, 2022


An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the brain. If it is large enough to cause symptoms, it can rupture. It may also go undetected throughout a person’s life. Several causes of an aneurysm include hereditary factors, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and high blood pressure.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage

Subarachnoid hemorrhages are caused by bleeding within the CSF-filled subarachnoid space. Though most spontaneous cases of SAH result from ruptured cerebral aneurysms, some patients experience bleeding due to other causes. In such cases, it is important to determine the underlying mechanism for choosing appropriate therapy.

Treatment for this condition focuses on preventing and managing complications that may arise. The main focus of treatment is to prevent further bleeding and reduce the chance of the condition occurring again. Treatment options include a cerebral angiogram and placement of a drain in the brain. Patients may also be prescribed painkillers and anti-anxiety medications.

Patients who have experienced subarachnoid bleeding should see a physician immediately. The physician will use an MRI or CT scan to obtain a detailed image of the inside of the skull. This will help identify if a blood vessel is causing the bleeding. A CT scan will also show if there is any bleeding within the brain itself. A lumbar puncture is also a common diagnostic test for subarachnoid hemorrhages.

Treatment for subarachnoid bleeding depends on the location of the aneurysm. The doctor will usually perform an MRI or CT scan to confirm the location and size of it. In some cases, neurosurgical treatment is necessary.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of an aneurysm, and it can be prevented by controlling your blood pressure. Knowing your risk factors and working with your physician to manage your blood pressure is important. You can also try certain dietary changes to lower your risk of an aneurysm.

Acute transient hypertension may not greatly increase the risk of rupture of an aneurysm. But chronic, uncontrolled hypertension can cause the rupture of an aneurysm. RAAS inhibitors can reduce hypertension. These drugs are commonly prescribed to manage high blood pressure.

Other factors contributing to an aneurysm risk are fatty deposits and damaged tissue inside the arteries. These deposits cause blockages, which damage the arteries and make the heart work harder. The increased pressure can weaken the walls of the arteries. Those with the atherosclerotic disease are also at high risk of an aneurysm. This condition is caused by a buildup of fatty deposits and cholesterol in the arteries.

Another major cause of an cardiovascular disease is uncontrolled high blood pressure. This condition weakens the artery wall and causes it to balloon outward. A ruptured aneurysm can damage organs and result in life-threatening internal bleeding. An aortic aneurysm is the largest artery in the body and begins on the left side of the heart and branches into two smaller arteries.

Hereditary factors

Although no single genetic factor causes an aneurysm, researchers have identified several risk factors. For example, some people are more susceptible to having an aneurysm if they have high blood pressure or are overweight. Certain medications, including beta-blockers, can help prevent aneurysm rupture. Additionally, people should eat a healthy diet that is rich in nutrients. Regular physical exercise is important to maintain good blood circulation throughout the body.

There are three types of aneurysms. The most common type is the abdominal aortic aneurysm, likely related to atherosclerosis. The other type, thoracic aortic aneurysm, is associated with hereditary factors and can occur in young adults without significant cardiovascular risk factors.

The first step in diagnosing an aneurysm is to have a medical examination. The doctor may perform an MRI or CAT scan to determine the location of the cardiovascular disease. MRIs are also useful in detecting an aneurysm before it ruptures. However, CT scans are preferred for ruptured aneurysms and those with a high risk of bleeding. A CT scan can also provide a more detailed picture of the cardiovascular disease, so doctors can determine if the treatment is appropriate.

Genetic and environmental risk factors can also increase the risk of developing an aneurysm. Some people have more than one of these risk factors, and others may not have them at all. Knowing your risk factors can help you take appropriate action, such as changing your lifestyle and being monitored for disease symptoms. For example, California teenager Brianna Atkins was diagnosed with a life-threatening aneurysm, but neurosurgeon Alexander Coon successfully repaired her brain aneurysm and saved her life.