Aneurysm, brain

Other names: Aneurysm, cerebral

DEFINITION

A brain aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel in the brain that can leak or rupture, causing bleeding into the brain. Most brain aneurysms are asymptomatic and are often detected incidentally during tests for other conditions.

SYMPTOMS

CAUSES

Brain aneurysms develop due to thinning artery walls and are more common at arterial branches. Risk factors include older age, smoking, high blood pressure, genetic disorders, head injury, and drug abuse.

RISK FACTORS

Factors contributing to the weakness of artery walls include older age, smoking, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, drug abuse (particularly cocaine), head injury, heavy alcohol consumption, certain infections, lower estrogen levels after menopause.

COMPLICATIONS

Complications of a ruptured brain aneurysm include re-bleeding, vasospasm (narrowing of blood vessels), hydrocephalus (excess fluid around the brain), and hyponatremia (low sodium levels).

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Prepare questions for your doctor about the size and location of the aneurysm, likelihood of rupture based on imaging tests results, recommended treatment options, follow-up tests frequency if not treated immediately.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Diagnostic tests for brain aneurysms include CT scan with or without angiography dye injection; cerebrospinal fluid test; MRI with or without angiography; cerebral angiogram. Screening for unruptured aneurysms is generally not recommended.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment options for a ruptured brain aneurysm include surgical clipping and endovascular coiling. Other treatments focus on managing symptoms and complications. Lifestyle changes can help prevent rupture in unruptured aneurysms.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

Avoid smoking and recreational drugs; maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly; limit caffeine intake; avoid straining activities that can increase blood pressure suddenly.


QUESTIONS

  1. What is a brain aneurysm?

A brain aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel in the brain that can leak or rupture.

  1. What are the symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm?

Symptoms include a sudden severe headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness.

  1. What are the risk factors for developing a brain aneurysm?

Risk factors include older age, smoking, high blood pressure, genetic disorders affecting blood vessels.

  1. How are brain aneurysms diagnosed?

Diagnostic tests include CT scan with or without angiography dye injection and MRI with or without angiography.

  1. What are the treatment options for a ruptured brain aneurysm?

Treatment options include surgical clipping and endovascular coiling.

  1. Can lifestyle changes help prevent a ruptured brain aneurysm?

Yes, lifestyle changes like avoiding smoking and recreational drugs can help lower the risk of rupture.

  1. Are unruptured brain aneurysms symptomatic?

Unruptured brain aneurysms may be asymptomatic but can cause symptoms if they grow large enough to press on surrounding structures.

  1. What complications can occur after a ruptured brain aneurysm?

Complications include re-bleeding, vasospasm (narrowing of blood vessels), hydrocephalus (excess fluid around the brain), and low sodium levels.

  1. Is screening recommended for unruptured brain aneurysms?

Screening is generally not recommended unless there is a strong family history or specific genetic conditions present.

  1. How can I lower my risk of developing a brain aneurysm?

Lower your risk by maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and avoiding smoking and recreational drugs.