An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal enlargement that typically describes as a bulge in the aorta, which is the biggest blood vessel in the entire human body and the body’s main artery. The bulge often is only a small part of the large vessel, which is also commonly called as an aneurysm of the great vessel.
What is an aneurysm?
An aneurysm occurs when a part of the blood vessel expands and weakens. This weakened vessel has a hard time containing the pressure of the blood flowing through it, which consequently creates a bulge at that same spot where it is weakest. As the pressure continues and becomes greater, the bulge grows. Aneursysm are dangerous and critical, because it can become fatal when it ruptures. In turn, this causes internal bleeding. Bulging is possible in any artery in the body; however, it is most common in the brain and abdominal aorta.
In the case of an aortic aneurysm, bulging can occur anywhere in the large vessel.
What causes an aortic aneurysm?
Normally, the walls of the aorta are very elastic and can stretch then shrink back to its size to be able to adapt to the blood flowing through the vessel. It is a resilient part of our body and without its resilience, problems may occur. High blood pressure and atherosclerosis are some conditions, which destroy the resilience and elasticity of these vessels. These diseases weaken the arteries and significantly decrease its function. When this happens, the aortic wall may tend to bulge outward.
Are there any symptoms?
There are practically no symptoms when it comes to aortic aneurysms. In most situations, your health care provider may find this during a medical examination for a different problem. However, people who do have the symptoms complain of back pain, discomfort, belly and chest pain. These symptoms are not constant and may come and go.
In the worst-case scenario, an aortic aneurysm may rupture and burst. When this happens, the person can experience severe pain, internal bleeding—if not treated, this may be fatal within minutes to hours.
Aortic aneurysms may also cause other problems. When the blood flow is disrupted, blood clots may develop. These clots may break off from the original site and travel to the brain and cause what is called a stroke. Blood clots that travel to the abdominal area may block flow to the belly or the legs.