Thursday, May 12, 2022

How To Know If You Have A Brain Aneurysm

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How Are Cerebral Aneurysms Diagnosed

How do you know if you have an aneurysm? | Norton Neuroscience Institute

Most cerebral aneurysms go unnoticed until they rupture or are detected during medical imaging tests for another condition.

If you have experienced a severe headache or have any other symptoms related to a ruptured aneurysm your doctor will order tests to determine if blood has leaked into the space between the skull bone and brain.

Several tests are available to diagnose brain aneurysms and determine the best treatment. These include:

What Causes A Brain Aneurysm

Brain aneurysms happen due to structural changes in the walls of an artery in the brain. These changes cause the walls of the artery to get weaker and become thin. The deformity can happen due to thinning of the wall, but sometimes inflammation or trauma can cause the deformity without thinning.

Its still unclear what exactly causes aneurysms to form. However, its believed that one or a combination of the following factors may promote their development:

  • a break down of elastic tissue within the artery
  • stress from blood flow through the artery
  • tissue changes in the artery due to increases in inflammation

Brain aneurysms are also more likely to happen where an artery branches into different directions. This is because arteries are naturally weaker at these locations.

Its possible for aneurysms to be present from birth. However, they most often develop over the course of your lifetime. This can be due to a variety of risk factors that well discuss below.

How Can A Brain Aneurysm Growth Or New Aneurysm Formation Be Prevented

Once an aneurysm is found, it is not expected to resolve on its own. However, aneurysm growth, change, risk of aneurysm rupture, or new aneurysm formation can be reduced by having a healthy lifestyle. Steps you can take include:

  • Exercise regularly without excessive heavy lifting.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Get help for alcohol or drug use disorder and dont use cocaine or other stimulant drugs.
  • Control high blood pressure with medications and lifestyle changes.

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What Is A Brain Aneurysm

A brain aneurysm, also known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage , is a weak spot in the wall of a blood vessel inside the brain. Think of a weak spot in a balloon and how it feels stretched out and thin. A brain aneurysm is like that.

That area of the blood vessel gets worn out from constant flow of blood and bulges out, almost like a bubble. It can grow to the size of a small berry. There are different types:

Saccular aneurysms are the most common type of brain aneurysm. They bulge out in a dome shape from the main artery. Theyâre connected to that artery by a narrow âneck.â

Fusiform aneurysms arenât as common as saccular aneurysms. They donât pouch out in a dome shape. Instead, they make a widened spot in the blood vessel.

Although brain aneurysms sound alarming, most donât cause symptoms or health problems. You can enjoy a long life without ever realizing that you have one. But in rare cases, aneurysms can grow big, leak, or explode. Bleeding in the brain, known as a hemorrhagic stroke, is serious, and youâll need medical care right away.

What Are The Symptoms Of An Unruptured Brain Aneurysm

Can You Tell if You Have a Brain Aneurysm?

The most common signs of an intact aneurysm are headaches. Other signs may include:

  • Vision changes.
  • MRA .
  • CTA .

Occasionally, a ruptured aneurysm may not show on the initial imaging test. If your symptoms point to a ruptured aneurysm, your doctor may order a lumbar puncture . This test shows whether theres blood in the fluid surrounding your brain.

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How Migraine And Brain Aneurysm Symptoms Differ

Doctors often describe the head pain caused by a burst aneurysm as a “thunderclap.” The pain comes on in an instant, and it’s very intense. It will feel like the worst headache of your life.

A migraine, on the other hand, tends to come on gradually. While the pain it causes may be intense, it usually doesn’t hit you all at once.

The suddenness and intensity of a brain aneurysm are its hallmarks — and the best way to tell it apart from a migraine.

Seizures are another symptom that may show up during a burst aneurysm. You don’t get that with a migraine.

If you lose consciousness, it’s also a sign that you have a brain aneurysm, not a migraine.

Sudden Extremely Severe Headache:

If there is a brain aneurysm, one might experience a sudden extremely severe headache. A sudden and severe headache is basically the key symptom of a ruptured aneurysm. Usually, this type of headache is generally described as the worst headache ever experienced by someone in a lifetime. In case of a leaking brain aneurysm, the aneurysm might leak a slight amount of blood, and this leaking of blood can cause an extremely severe sudden headache. Such headaches are associated with vomiting, nausea, and change in vision. You should talk to your healthcare professional about your condition and get yourself diagnosed and treated well.

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Are Brain Aneurysms Painful

Most people who have an unruptured brain aneurysm dont even know its there. It usually doesnt cause pain or any symptoms at all.

However, many smaller aneurysms are actually found when investigating causes of chronic headache. Researchers don’t know for sure if headaches are directly related to an unruptured aneurysm. One thought is that the swollen blood vessel is pressing into the nerves and membranes/tissues around the brain, causing the headache.

A sudden, severe headache can be a sign of a ruptured aneurysm. Rarely, you can also have a headache that lasts for days or weeks from an aneurysm thats leaking a small amount of blood. This type of lingering headache is called a sentinel headache. Its a warning that the aneurysm is about to burst.

What Are The Symptoms Of Brain Aneurysm

The warning signs of a brain aneurysm

The presence of a brain aneurysm may not be known until it ruptures. Most brain aneurysms have no symptoms and are small in size . Smaller aneurysms may have a lower risk of rupture.

However, occasionally there may be symptoms that happen before a rupture due to a small amount of blood that may leak. This is called “sentinel hemorrhage” into the brain. Some aneurysms are symptomatic because they press on adjacent structures, such as nerves to the eye. They can cause visual loss or diminished eye movements, even if the aneurysm has not ruptured.

The symptoms of an unruptured brain aneurysm include the following:

  • Headaches

  • Vision changes

  • Diminished eye movement

The first evidence of a brain aneurysm is most often a subarachnoid hemorrhage , due to rupture of the aneurysm. This may cause symptoms such as:

  • Rapid onset of “worst headache of my life”

  • Stiff neck

  • Loss of balance or coordination

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Back or leg pain

  • Problems with certain functions of the eyes, nose, tongue, and/or ears that are controlled by one or more of the 12 cranial nerves

  • Coma and death

The symptoms of a brain aneurysm may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

Brain Aneurysm | Laurie Jeans Story

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Brain Aneurysm: 4 Things You Need To Know

    When part of a blood vessel in your brain bulges, or balloons, it’s called an aneurysm. Every brain aneurysm is unique in location, shape and size. These particulars guide your doctor in determining how and whether to treat a brain aneurysm.

    Neurosurgeon Judy Huang, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins Department of Neurosurgery, provides insight into some of the most common questions behind brain aneurysm diagnosis and treatment.

    What It Feels Like To Have A Brain Aneurysm

    After ignoring a strange headache for two weeks, a Rhode Island woman finally sought a diagnosis and began her journey of recovery. Heres how to recognize the symptoms.

    Dawn Mureddu was using a new piece of equipment at the gym near her home in Johnston, Rhode Island, when she felt a weird pain in the back of her head. I never had anything like that before, she recalls. But she was working with a new trainer, so she kept going. Then suddenly, she had to dash to the bathroom to vomit.

    Somehow, she managed to finish her hour-long session. Back home, she went upstairs to shower and started seeing double. The pain in her head, the vomiting, and the double vision were all warning signs described by the American Stroke Association of a brain aneurysm that had ruptured.

    Mureddu, 57, knows this now, but she didn’t know it at the time. The pain didnt go away, but she didnt get medical attention for two weeks. She even went back to the gym. It was her trainer who encouraged her to call her doctor.

    As soon as the doctor saw the images from her brain scan, he said, You have an aneurysm and have to see a surgeon right away.

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    Brain Aneurysm Signs & Symptoms

    What is a brain aneurysm?

    A brain aneurysm is a bulge that forms in the wall of a weakened artery in the brain. If an aneurysm ruptures, blood spills into the space between the skull and the brain, causing a serious type of stroke known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage . Thinning of the arterial wall can occur gradually over time, and aneurysms most commonly develop at the base of arterial branches of the brain as the arteries are their weakest at these points.

    Facts about aneurysms

    Aneurysms vary in size. A small aneurysm is between 1/8 inch to almost 1 inch. Its estimated that 50-80% of small aneurysms will not rupture. An aneurysm that is greater than 1 inch is considered a giant aneurysm, which is at a much higher risk of rupturing and can be difficult to treat.

    An estimated 6.5 million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm, or 1 in 50 people. Women are more likely than men to have a brain aneurysm . Brain aneurysms are most prevalent in people ages 35 to 60, but can occur in children as well. Most aneurysms develop after the age of 40. Women, particularly those over the age of 55, have a higher risk of brain aneurysm rupture than men .

    What symptoms should you look out for?

    Brain aneurysms that have not ruptured typically have little to no symptoms. These aneurysms are most often smaller in size, and most are found incidentally when tests are being done to screen for other conditions.

    Blurred or double vision

    What Does A Brain Aneurysm Look Like

    What is a brain aneurysm? Symptoms, causes, treatment and more

    Brain aneurysms can take several forms. About 90 percent are saccular, or berry, aneurysms. This type forms a sac outside the artery that looks like a berry attached to a vine.

    A fusiform aneurysm is a rarer type of aneurysm that affects a longer section of the artery wall, causing the artery to bulge all the way around. Its estimated that

    Brain aneurysms can affect anyone. However, some factors can increase your risk.

    There are different risk factors for aneurysm development and rupture.

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    Loss Of Consciousness And Confusion:

    One of the most important signs of a brain aneurysm is the loss of consciousnessand confusion. Generally, these signs are experienced by people with a ruptured aneurysm of the brain. They might also experience sensitivity to the light, a drooping eyelid, and seizures, along with loss of consciousness and confusion.

    The Warning Signs Of A Brain Aneurysm

    The symptoms and signs of a ruptured aneurysm include:

    • A severe headache that comes out of nowhere
    • Blurred vision
    • Drooping eyelids
    • Passing out

    An unruptured aneurysm might not initially have any symptoms, but that usually changes as it grows larger. The warning signs that indicate a person has developed an unruptured brain aneurysm include:

    • Pain behind or above an eye
    • Double vision
    • Numbness on one side of the patient’s face

    Patients are advised to seek immediate medical attention if:

    • They have a severe headache that is incomparable in pain to past headaches suddenly occurs
    • They have a seizure
    • They lose consciousness

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    What Is The Outcome Of Brain Aneurysm

    Brain aneurysms are deadly. About 10% of patients with a ruptured aneurysm die before receiving medical care. If untreated, another 50% will die within a month, with a 20% risk of rebleed by the end of the first two weeks. Aside from the bleeding issues, there is significant risk of artery spasm leading to stroke.

    Survival rates are increased in patients who present early to the hospital. Early diagnosis, aneursym repair, and control of blood vessel spasms with appropriate medications are all associated with increased survival.

    Successfully Recovering From An Aneurysm

    Memory & cognition after brain aneurysm treatment: What you need to know. | Webinar

    Mureddus recovery from her surgery in April 2013, two months after the rupture, was long and arduous. She had to relearn to speak and to walk. Determined, she took a good 10 months until she was nearly back to her old self.

    Today, she continues to manage the condition by eating a healthy diet and working out at the gym at least three days a week. She also makes sure that her brain is as active as it always was, says Mureddu, who works in finance. In her free time she plays solitaire, Scrabble, and does Sudoku to help her mind stay sharp, and she checks in with a therapist and health coach regularly.

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    What Causes Brain Aneurysms To Bleed

    Researchers havent discovered exactly what causes an aneurysm to leak or rupture, which causes bleeding in or around the brain. But anything that increases your blood pressure can be dangerous. Higher blood pressure makes blood push harder against blood vessel walls. Things that may increase blood pressure include:

    • Ongoing stress or a sudden burst of anger or other strong emotion.
    • Working hard to lift, carry or push something heavy like weights or furniture.
    • Known high blood pressure that is not treated appropriately with medications.

    ‘a Miracle I’m Alive’

    Another regional survivor from the north coast of NSW, Kerren Heilpern also experienced major delays to getting the treatment she needed to save her life.

    Ms Heilpern does not remember anything between doing some housework in the morning and waking up two weeks later after emergency surgery in an intensive care unit.

    Her partner at the time, Phil Young, witnessed what happened when an aneurysm burst in her brain.

    “Kerren started complaining of a smashing headache and said she had never experienced anything like it, ever,” Mr Young said.

    “Within 10 minutes she was practically unconscious. I called the ambulance.”

    It took 40 minutes for the ambulance to get to Ms Heilpern and Mr Young’s home at Iluka.

    “A problem of living in a regional area, they had to come from Maclean and that’s just how long it takes,” Mr Young said.

    The nearest hospital to Iluka is the small rural facility at Maclean.

    “It doesn’t have any of the diagnostic equipment that Kerren needed,” Mr Young said.

    “The doctor who was on duty diagnosed her correctly.”

    Ms Heilpern was then sent to Grafton Base Hospital, an hour’s drive south of Iluka, for a CT scan.

    “They did two CT scans in Grafton to confirm what had happened and then we waited a long time in Grafton for an ambulance to take her to the Gold Coast about 3 hours actually,” Mr Young said.

    “There was no fixed-wing or helicopter available that night. They were attending to a teenager who had fallen out of a tree.”

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    How Will My Doctor Know Whether An Aneurysm Will Cause A Brain Bleed

    When determining how likely a brain aneurysm is to bleed , your doctor will consider these factors:

    • Size of the brain aneurysm
    • Location of the brain aneurysm
    • Shape of the aneurysm, meaning whether it’s round or irregular

    There are many effective treatment options for brain aneurysms today. Because of the nuances of brain aneurysms, care teams tailor treatment to each individual patient. Always be sure to consult with a neurosurgeon with cerebrovascular expertise.

    At Johns Hopkins, each of the 300-plus brain aneurysm surgeries we perform yearly are customized specifically to an individual patient’s circumstances.

    What Is The Outlook For Someone With A Brain Aneurysm

    Symptoms of Brain Aneurysm: How to find Aneurysm in early days

    Not all aneurysms will rupture. According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, about 6.5 million people in the United States have brain aneurysms that havent ruptured. In fact, an estimated 50 to 80 percent of all brain aneurysms never rupture in a persons lifetime.

    According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 50 percent of individuals dying within 3 months.

    Because of this, its important to be vigilant in monitoring existing aneurysms as well as taking steps to prevent them from rupturing. Its possible that your doctor may recommend surgical treatment for aneurysms that are large or at an increased risk of rupturing.

    If you notice signs of rupture, its vital to seek immediate medical care to increase your chance of survival and recovery.

    After a rupture, recovery can take weeks to months, and its likely that youll need physical, occupational, or speech therapy during this time. Its also possible that you may never fully recover, depending on the severity of the damage.

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    What Is A Cerebral Aneurysm

    A cerebral aneurysm is a weak or thin spot on an artery in the brain that balloons or bulges out and fills with blood. The bulging aneurysm can put pressure on the nerves or brain tissue. It may also burst or rupture, spilling blood into the surrounding tissue . A ruptured aneurysm can cause serious health problems such as hemorrhagic stroke, brain damage, coma, and even death.

    Some cerebral aneurysms, particularly those that are very small, do not bleed or cause other problems. These types of aneurysms are usually detected during imaging tests for other medical conditions. Cerebral aneurysms can occur anywhere in the brain, but most form in the major arteries along the base of the skull.

    Brain aneurysms can occur in anyone and at any age. They are most common in adults between the ages of 30 and 60 and are more common in women than in men. People with certain inherited disorders are also at higher risk.

    All cerebral aneurysms have the potential to rupture and cause bleeding within the brain or surrounding area. Approximately 30,000 Americans per year suffer a brain aneurysm rupture. Much less is known about how many people have cerebral aneurysms, since they dont always cause symptoms. There are no proven statistics but a consensus of scientific papers indicate that between 3 and 5 percent of Americans may have an aneurysm in their lifetime.

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