What is an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a blood-filled balloon like bulge that grows slowly overtime in a part of your aorta that runs through your abdomen. The aorta is the largest artery in your body which is responsible for carrying blood away from your heart to the rest of your body. Once an aneurysm has formed, it will gradually increase and progressively grow weaker.

Who Can Develop AAA’s?

Multiple causes increase your chance of developing AAA’s such as:

AAA is hereditary in your family.
Your age. Aneurysms occur most often in people age 65 and older.
Being male. Men are more likely than women to have AAA.
Heavy smoker.
High blood pressure.
High cholesterol.
Injury, such as a car accident.

Symptoms of AAA’s

In many cases, abdominal aortic aneurysms may not show any symptoms and are often found during an evaluation for another medical condition. As the aneurysm grows, you may experience pain in the abdomen or lower back or a pulsating motion near your belly button. If you are experiencing similar pain, especially if the pain is sudden and severe, seek medical attention immediately.

How Are AAA’s Treated?

The size of your abdominal aortic aneurysms greatly depends on your treatment plan. Through medical monitoring or surgery, the goal for treatment is to prevent your aneurysm from rupturing. Your healthcare provider will determine whether or not the aneurysm is likely to burst and then decide what treatment will best suit your health.

Prevention

To prevent an aortic aneurysm or keep an aortic aneurysm from worsening, you should do the following:

Quit smoking.
Maintain a healthy diet. At best, avoid saturated fat, trans fats and limit salt intake.
Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
Exercise regularly. If you have trouble staying active, talk to your doctor about what activities best suit you.

If you’re at risk for an aortic aneurysm or think you may have one, book an appointment with a vascular surgeon at one of our many office locations throughout Middle Tennessee.

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