An aortic aneurysm is a heart disease that appears as an abnormal bulge in the aorta, the main artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart through the chest and torso. The aorta runs from the heart through the center of the chest and abdomen which shapes like a curved candy cane.
Aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, so it is the main carrier of blood to other parts of the body. The ascending aorta travels up from the heart and descending aorta back down into the abdomen.
An aortic aneurysm appears as a bulge in the wall of the aorta that may burst or split the vessel which can cause life-threatening internal bleeding or block the flow of blood. This appears when the wall of the aorta gets weak and when the pressure of blood pumping through the artery causes a bulge in the weak area of the vessel.
The wall of the aorta is composed of three layers, if the middle layers of the wall which are made up of smooth muscle and elastic tissue swells or stretch due to the flow of blood it leads to an aneurysm.
Cause Of Aortic Aneurysm
The main cause of the disease is considered as the lifestyle and family history of the patient. This can play a role in the risk of an aortic aneurysm and it is most commonly seen in men, smokers, people over 65, and people who have high blood pressure.
The family history of a person can also lead to the disease. Injuries, deep wounds, or infections also cause the blood vessels to swell.
In some cases, this condition may be seen as congenital, which means the person is born with the disease. Certain inherited diseases can also increase the risk of having an aneurysm. For example, Marfan syndrome is an inherited disease, which affects the connective tissue, and causes people to have long bones and very flexible joints. People with the such syndrome have a high chance of disease.
Symptoms Of Aortic Aneurysm
The person who is affected by the disease may cause shortness of breath, backache, and a raspy voice, and the person feels pain in the left shoulder or between the shoulder blades. For someone, the stomach becomes tender and has severe pain. The person fell less hungry due to the condition.
The pain may be deep, aching, throbbing, or gnawing which may spread to the groin, legs, or buttocks. A cold foot or black or blue painful toe appears when an aneurysm produces a blood clot that breaks off and blocks the blood to flow to the legs.
If the aortic aneurysm bursts a sudden severe pain occurs and blood pressure may fall. If the disease is not identified in the early stages and if the patient may not get immediate treatment a quick death happens.
Types Of Aortic Aneurysm
Thoracic, abdominal, and thoracoabdominal aneurysms are the three types of diseases that are based on their location.
Thoracic aortic aneurysm
The swelling that develops in the chest is commonly known as a thoracic aortic aneurysm. This type of aneurysm shows no symptoms in the patient. Based on the location of the thoracic aortic aneurysm, it is further classified into:
- Aortic root aneurysm
The aortic root is located where the aorta attaches to the heart which includes the aortic valve. This valve prevents the backflow of blood to the heart and opens to the coronary arteries which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Aortic root aneurysm damages the heart’s aortic valve and can lead to dissection or rupture of the aorta.
- Ascending aortic aneurysm
It is the portion that extends upward towards the curved part of the aorta. People who have this type of disease may feel dull chest pain.
- Aortic Arch aneurysm
This connects the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the upper body including the brain, arms, and neck. If the Aortic arch aneurysm develops the blood flow to the upper body stops and the person may feel dull chest pain, shortness of breath, and a hoarse voice.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm
This develops below the chest portion of the body. This commonly appears more in men than in women. According to the studies, these are more commonly seen than thoracic aortic aneurysms. This grows slowly when compared to other types if it expands quickly it is more likely to cause symptoms such as back pain, and abdominal pain and is at risk of rupturing.
It spans from the thoracic to the abdominal portion of the aorta. It also rarely causes symptoms but can expand enough to break. It crosses through parts of the aorta that connects to arteries that supply blood to the other part of the body such as the lungs, kidney, intestines, and spine. This is more dangerous than others because the main organs get blood through this valve. Treatment often involves creating a bypass around the affected part of the aorta.
How To Treat?
The treatment of the disease depends on the location and size of the aortic aneurysm. It can be managed with healthy lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, heart-healthy eating, managing stress, and getting physical activity.
The main goal is to stop the growth of the swelling and lower the chance of rupture or dissection. If the condition is the high patient may recommend surgery based on the type of aneurysm. Aspirin, blood pressure medicine, and statins are the common medicines that doctors prescribe in the earlier stages.
James specializes in providing individuals with the fundamental knowledge and tools they need to maximize their health. He works as a general practitioner, diagnosing and treating conditions that affect people’s general health. He focuses on providing informative content for the website.