Preventing The Aneurysm – A Silent Killer

2010-01-29 |

What Increases The Risks Of Developing An Aneurysm?

Factors that increase the risk of developing an aneurysm include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, clogged arteries (atherosclerosis) and smoking. A previous aneurysm also means that a person has a higher risk of a subsequent aneurysm. As well, researchers at the University Hospital in Stockholm studying twins have found that genetic factors are important in the development of the condition.

In situations where an identical twin has developed an aneurysm in the stomach area, there is a 1 in 4 chance that the other twin will also develop the same type of aneurysm. This means that genetic factors increase the risk by as much as 71 times over those without the genetic factor. However, these numbers don’t indicate the risk of inheriting the genes related to the development of aneurysms.

What Can Be Done To Prevent An Aneurysm From Rupturing?

Given the risks of death for those with the different types of aneurysm, there is good news in that preventative surgery and treatments are lowering the mortality rate. Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that in the US, rates of stomach aneurysm rupture have been decreased by 32% between 1993 and 2005 due, in part, to preventative measures. Deaths from these aneurysm ruptures have also been reduced by 27%.

Also good news is that newer, less invasive forms of preventative surgery are not significantly reducing the lifespan of patients compared to the risk face by someone without an aneurysm. Research from Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden has found that from 1987 to 2005, the risks of preventative aneurysm repair have decreased to the point where the life span of patients who undergo the surgery is “only marginally shorter” than the general population.

As well, research from the Imperial College in England has shown that the use of common cholesterol lowering drugs can cut the risk of stomach aneurysm ruptures in half. This is a fairly easy way of reducing personal risk.


However, the key to prevention of an aneurysm is early detection. Stomach aneurysms can be detected by a $50 ultrasound screening and since they are a very common form of the disorder, this is fairly easy decision. Screening for aneurysms in the chest and head require more precise medical imaging and are more expensive as a result. Genetic testing is not yet available to assess an individual’s risk of aneurysm. However, if relatives have suffered from an aneurysm, it is a good idea to inform your doctor so they may decide whether or not to have you screened.

Are you at risk of aneurysm or do you have one? Please feel free to share your experiences with others.

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Category: Health Risks, Medical Research, Medical Treatment

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