What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm?


An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a swelling of the blood vessel in the abdominal section of the aorta.

This happens when the aortic wall becomes damaged and weakened.

Aorta
Normal aorta/aneurysm

You can modify or control some of the risk factors for this condition: 

  • Smoking
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Bad cholesterol (high levels of cholesterol in the blood)
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Stress

You can’t change or modify other risk factors: 

  • Age
  • Family history of vascular disease

What are the symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

Pain

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is often discovered during an exam for other medical reasons.

Most patients who have an abdominal aortic aneurysm have no symptoms, even if the aneurysm is large.

The most common symptom that people experience is pain, which can be felt in the abdomen, back and chest. 

For some patients, the aneurysm will feel like a pulse or throbbing mass in the abdomen.

An aneurysm can continue to grow, and there will be a risk of rupture.

Symptoms of a rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm:

  • Intense pain in the lower back and abdomen
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Weakness and severe perspiration
  • Skin paleness
Ruptured abdominal aneurysm

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