An aneurysm is a serious medical condition caused by the weakening of an artery wall. When this happens, the artery becomes locally enlarged and can even burst. Cerebral aneurysms, as their names suggest, occur in the brain and can cause any number of severe symptoms upon rupturing, such as headaches, nausea, seizures, confusion, and more. However, they are often asymptomatic before rupturing, making them difficult to spot in their early stages.
But by paying attention to and moderating the risk factors of cerebral aneurysms, where possible, you can play a more active role in protecting yourself and your loved ones. Here, IGEA Brain, Spine, & Orthopedics, which serves patients in the tri-state area, outlines what you need to know.
Risk Factors of Cerebral Aneurysms
Risk factors are things that impact your likelihood of developing a condition or disease. They are not, however, perfect predictors of disease development. With that being said, if you identify with one or more of the following risk factors and are concerned about developing a cerebral aneurysm, we recommend contacting your provider and asking about getting screened:
Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors of cerebral aneurysms. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with quitting – the sooner, the better.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is another significant risk factor for cerebral aneurysms. For many with hypertension, there is no clear cause of its development. However, in cases of secondary hypertension, issues such as kidney problems, illegal drug use, adrenal gland tumors, and more can be to blame.
If other members of your family have had cerebral aneurysms, then you may be more likely to develop one. Specifically, the risk is highest for those with first-degree relatives who have developed one.
If you are aged 40 or older, then you are at a greater risk of developing a cerebral aneurysm than a younger person.
Women are at a heightened risk for developing cerebral aneurysms as compared to men.
People of color are at a higher risk of developing ruptured cerebral aneurysms.
Drug and Alcohol Use
The use of certain drugs, like cocaine, is linked with the development of a cerebral aneurysm. Further, prolonged, heavy alcohol consumption can also increase someone’s risk.
Severe Head Trauma
In cases where head trauma weakens the wall of one of your cerebral arteries, a cerebral aneurysm can develop.
Presence of Other Disorders
If you have one of the following diseases, you may be more likely to develop a cerebral aneurysm during your lifetime:
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease
- Marfan syndrome
- Fibromuscular dysplasia
If your doctor determines you are at risk for developing a cerebral aneurysm, they may elect to have you screened in one of several ways. The most common forms of cerebral aneurysm screening include:
- Computerized tomography (CT) scans
- Cerebrospinal fluid tests
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Cerebral angiograms
Typically, physicians will not use imaging tests to screen patients for unruptured cerebral aneurysms. However, in cases of heightened risk, these measures may still be used to catch and eliminate concerns before they can cause harm.
Learn More Today
If you live in the tri-state area and have identified with one or more of these cerebral aneurysm risk factors, the IGEA team is here to help. To speak with one of our board-certified professionals, contact us today or visit a clinic nearest you.