What is abdominal aortic aneurysm? Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
What is Abdominal aortic aneurysm?
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a condition in which the aorta, the largest artery in the body that carries blood from the heart to the abdomen and legs, becomes weakened and bulges out. This bulging, or aneurysm, can occur anywhere along the length of the aorta, but it is most commonly found in the abdominal section of the aorta. AAA is considered a serious medical condition because if the aneurysm ruptures, it can cause severe internal bleeding and potentially be fatal.
abdominal aortic aneurysm causes
The exact cause of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is not fully understood, but several factors are known to increase the risk of developing the condition. These risk factors include:
1.Age: AAA is more common in people over the age of 65.
2.Gender: Men are more likely to develop AAA than women.
3.Smoking: Smoking is the most significant modifiable risk factor for AAA. Smoking weakens the walls of the aorta, making them more susceptible to aneurysms.
4.High blood pressure: High blood pressure can damage the walls of the aorta, increasing the risk of AAA.
5.High cholesterol: High levels of cholesterol can contribute to the formation of fatty deposits in the walls of the aorta, leading to aneurysms.
6.Family history: A family history of AAA increases the risk of developing the condition.
7.Connective tissue disorders: Certain connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, can weaken the walls of the aorta, increasing the risk of aneurysms.
8.Atherosclerosis: Atherosclerosis is a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can weaken the walls of the aorta and increase the risk of AAA.
abdominal aortic aneurysm symptoms
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) often develops slowly and without any noticeable symptoms. In fact, many people with AAA may not even be aware that they have it until it is detected during a routine medical examination or imaging test. However, as the aneurysm grows larger, it may cause the following symptoms:
1.Abdominal pain or discomfort: AAA may cause a deep, persistent pain in the abdomen, back or flank.
2.Pulsating sensation in the abdomen: You may feel a pulsating sensation in your abdomen, particularly when lying down.
3.Back pain: Pain in the lower back that radiates to the buttocks or legs may occur.
4.Swelling: Swelling or a lump may develop in the abdomen.
5.Gastrointestinal symptoms: AAA may cause nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea.
abdominal aortic aneurysm treatments
The treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) depends on the size and location of the aneurysm, as well as the patient’s overall health. There are several treatment options for AAA, including:
1.Watchful waiting: This approach involves monitoring the aneurysm with regular ultrasound scans to track its growth. If the aneurysm is small and not growing rapidly, your doctor may recommend watchful waiting.
2.Medications: Medications such as beta-blockers and statins may be prescribed to control blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can help slow the growth of the aneurysm and reduce the risk of rupture.
3.Endovascular repair: Endovascular repair is a minimally invasive procedure in which a small incision is made in the groin to insert a stent-graft, a small metal mesh tube covered in fabric, into the aneurysm. The stent-graft is guided to the aneurysm through a catheter, and once in place, it reinforces the weakened wall of the aorta, reducing the risk of rupture.
4.Open surgery: In some cases, open surgery may be necessary to repair or remove the aneurysm. During open surgery, the damaged portion of the aorta is removed and replaced with a synthetic graft.