A brain aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in a blood vessel in the brain.
Brain aneurysms can occur in anyone but are most common in adults between the ages of 40 and 60.
Most brain aneurysms do not cause symptoms.
However, some brain aneurysms can rupture, causing bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).
A ruptured brain aneurysm is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
What is the main cause of brain aneurysm?
The main cause of brain aneurysm is unknown.
However, there are certain risk factors that may increase your chance of developing a brain aneurysm, such as:
- Family history of brain aneurysms
- High blood pressure
- Drug abuse
- Previous head injury
The warning signs of a brain aneurysm
An unruptured aneurysm usually does not cause any symptoms.
However, if an aneurysm presses on a nerve or blood vessel, it can cause:
- Sudden headache
- Blurred or double vision
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the face
- Difficulty speaking
- Pain above and behind the eye
A ruptured aneurysm
A ruptured brain aneurysm is a medical emergency.
If you have any of the following warning signs, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately:
- A sudden, extremely severe headache that is usually described as “the worst headache of my life”
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stiff neck
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred or double vision
- Loss of consciousness
- Drooping eyelid
- Eye pain
- Numbness or paralysis on one side of the face
Keep in mind, that these symptoms could be caused by other problems, but they could also be warning signs of a brain aneurysm.
How is a brain aneurysm diagnosed?
A brain aneurysm is usually diagnosed using imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI.
These tests can show the presence of a brain aneurysm and help to determine its size and location.
How is a brain aneurysm treated?
The treatment for a brain aneurysm depends on its size and location.
Smaller aneurysms that are not causing symptoms do not usually require treatment.
However, larger aneurysms or those that are causing symptoms may need to be treated with surgery or endovascular procedures.
Surgery is usually recommended for brain aneurysms that are 5mm or larger.
Endovascular procedures are less invasive than surgery and are often used to treat smaller aneurysms.
These procedures involve using a catheter to place a coil in the aneurysm, which blocks blood flow to it and prevents it from rupturing.
Can you survive an aneurysm?
Yes, you can survive an aneurysm.
With early diagnosis and treatment, the chances of survival are very good.
In fact, people who receive treatment for a ruptured brain aneurysm often make a full recovery.
Can you live a normal life after a brain aneurysm?
Yes, most people who have had a brain aneurysm are able to live a normal life after treatment.
Actually, some people live for years without even knowing they have an aneurysm.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 75 percent of people who have a ruptured brain aneurysm survive longer than 24 hours.
Those who survive will be able to return to their previous level of activity within six months.
However, a long-term follow-up with a doctor is often recommended for people who have had a brain aneurysm.
What should you avoid if you have an aneurysm?
There are certain activities that you should avoid if you have an aneurysm, such as:
- Drinking alcohol
- Using illegal drugs
- Doing strenuous activity
- Being startled or angry
These activities can increase your blood pressure and put additional strain on your blood vessels, which can cause an aneurysm to rupture.
Brain aneurysm complication
The most serious complication of a brain aneurysm is a rupture.
A ruptured brain aneurysm can cause a stroke or even death.
Other complications of a brain aneurysm include:
- Brain damage
- Vision problems
- Cognitive impairment
If you have a brain aneurysm, it’s important to see a doctor regularly so that your aneurysm can be monitored.
When to see a doctor
If you have any of the warning signs of a brain aneurysm, it’s important to see a doctor right away.
Even if you don’t have any symptoms, see a doctor if you have a family history of brain aneurysms.