Brain Aneurysms: What Are They and How to Prevent Them

Brain aneurysms. You may have heard people talk about them or you or a relative may have experienced one before. They are small blood vessels that get inflamed with blood in the brain and put dangerous pressure on it. In essence, this is something to keep in mind, because a percentage of them has to do with your lifestyle habits. Do you want to know more about this? Keep reading.

1. What Is a Brain Aneurysm?

The word itself might scare you. But you must take it in calmly. Most of the time, these problems are solved with an intervention. The most important part is knowing about them, identifying the symptoms, and trying to have a healthy life. Let’s dig deeper into them: A brain aneurysm happens when a blood vein in the brain fills up with brain and causes pressure at the same time, especially on this part of your head.

They normally tend to happen in the lower area of the brain and so you should keep that in mind. If they are not caught on time, they could cause serious problems. The risk is that there is the possibility of two things happening: this pressure causes irreversible damage or this blood vessel ends up bleeding.

2. But What Causes a Brain Aneurysm?

Is there an obvious origin that can be determined in order to prevent them? The answer is “yes and no”. Most of the times, it could be an innate pathology, or in other words, you can be born with this small blood vessel already inflamed in your brain. The other possibility is for you to suffer from an aneurysm caused by other diseases like a kidney problem, circulatory problems, problems in your veins and arteries…

Infections, high blood pressure, a head injury, having certain kinds of cancer… All of that can also cause these small and dangerous accumulations of blood in your brain, which interrupts proper blood flow.

3. Who Has a Higher Risk of Suffering from a Brain Aneurysm?

The adult population is, normally between 30 and 60 years old. We should also mention that, according to statistics, women have a greater risk of suffering from an aneurysm. These blood vessels are considered serious when they are 15mm in size in the brain, causing a potential risk of them starting to bleed and consequently cause a greater pressure on the brain. This would be when the true risks come about. When they burst and bleed inside the brain, a cerebrovascular accident will happen, which will also cause new aneurysms.

4. What Are the Symptoms?

Unfortunately, many brain aneurysms show no symptoms until they are very large or burst. If they are small, or in other words, are less than 10mm in size, they aren’t concerning at all. But if they are bigger than that and are growing, then you will start to feel their effects.

What are those effects? How can you know if you have an aneurysm that is about to burst? You will notice pain behind and above your eyes especially, weakness or paralysis on one side of your face, and your pupils will also be dilated. It is also worth keeping the symptoms associated with an aneurysm that has started to bleed in mind: sudden and intense headaches, waking up with double vision, nausea, neck pain, fainting… Other signs are drooping eyelids, being more sensitive to light, not being able to concentrate normally, having convulsions, and having the worst headache ever. If the symptoms are very obvious, you should see your doctor to prove this.

5. How Are Brain Aneurysms Diagnosed?

To check if you have an aneurysm, you will need to do a CAT scan or magnetic resonance imaging. Sometimes, aneurysms have been seen on accident when patients are being checked for other diseases.

6. How Are Brain Aneurysms Treated?

First, we should mention that every patient is unique and depending on your personal factors and the size of the aneurysm, your doctors will choose one way or the other. They will usually use both techniques.

The first way is microvascular clipping, where they try to cut off the blood flow from the aneurysm. The neuroscientist access the blood vessel that supplies the aneurysm in the brain and then puts a small, metallic clip similar to clasp in the neck, so that the aneurysm won’t come back.

The other technique is not done in the brain, but rather through endovascular embolization. What the doctor does is put a catheter through the groin artery, which will make it get to the aneurysm through a platinum wire. It will block it there and the problem will be solved.

Today, the techniques are very advanced and you shouldn’t be scared. Aneurysms tend to be resolved well. We just have to be aware of the symptoms.