Aneurysm Definition: The weakening of the artery wall


What is an aneurysm?

Caused by weakness in the arterial wall, an aneurysm is the enlargement of an artery which causes distension or creates a bulge. The condition often doesn't present any symptoms, however, a ruptured aneurysm can cause internal bleeding, which could result in a fatality.

There are various types of aneurysms and they are classified by their position within the body. An aneurysm can happen in any part of the body, such as the legs, the spleen, and the aorta. However, the arteries of the heart and brain are the most common sites in which serious aneurysms occur.

The bulge can take two main forms:

1. Fusiform aneurysms: in this form, the bulge reaches all sides of a blood vessel.

2. Saccular aneurysms: in this form, the bulge only reaches one side.

The risk of an aneurysm rupture is dependent on the size of the bulge.

What causes an aneurysm?

The exact cause of an aneurysm is unclear, however, certain factors can contribute to the condition.

For example, it is thought that damaged tissue in the arteries can be a big contributor. The arteries can become problematic due to blockages typically caused by fat. These fat deposits can cause the heart to pump faster and harder than it's required to do in order to push blood past the fat that has built up in the arteries.

This stress can then cause damage to the arteries due to the increased pressure caused.

Are there any symptoms?

As noted, those aneurysms that occur in the brain and body don’t typically show symptoms, however, those that occur near the surface of the body could show signs of pain and swelling. These symptoms may include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Bleeding
  • Pain.

If you experience any of these, it’s best to visit your doctor.

Searching for a look you love?

Discover quality frames and personalised fitting service at your local independent optician.