When the aneurysm grows there is a significant risk of rupture, which may result in severe hemorrhage, other complications or death. Hereditary genetics or disease may cause the wall of the blood vessel to become weak, creating a predisposition to aneurysm.
Aneurysms can occur in children but is more prevalent in people within the age range of 35 to 60, and adult females are more likely to have aneurysms, There are usually no warning signs and the most common incidence are among 50 year olds.
There are two main types of aneurysms:
- Aortic aneurysm – This is more common and occurs in the aorta. Can be abdominal, or thoracic (higher up).
- Cerebral aneurysm – occurs in an artery in the brain. Cerebral aneurysms generally develop at the forks or branches in the base of the brain – but can form anywhere in the brain.
Signs and symptoms of aneurysms
Aneurysms can develop and become large before any symptoms are noticed. If an aneurysm ruptures the risk of death is high. Symptoms are related to the size of the aneurysm, its location and how fast it is growing. Very small aneurysms which do not grow may go completely without noticeable symptoms. A large cerebral aneurysm (in the brain) may push some nerve tissues and trigger numbness in the face, or trouble with the eyes.
Cerebral (brain) aneurysm symptoms
The following symptoms may be experienced with a growing cerebral aneurysm before it ruptures:
- Very severe headache that occurs suddenly
- Eyesight problems
- Seizures (fits)
- Loss of consciousness
- A drooping eyelid
- Stiff neck
- Light sensitivity
When the cerebral aneurysm ruptures it will cause bleeding in the brain and a hemorrhagic stroke – it can also cause intracranial hematoma (blood leaks into the area surrounding the brain causing a blood clot in the skull).
What causes aneurysms?
Several cases of aneurysms are congenital or already present at birth. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cigarette smoking could increase the risk for certain types of aneurysms. Pregnancy is frequently associated to the formation and rupture of splenic artery aneurysms.
Causes of brain (cerebral) aneurysm:
- Weakness in the artery wall (usually present since birth)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Arteriosclerosis (plaques of cholesterol, platelets, fibrin, and other substance form on the arterial wall)