Brain aneurysms are something that can affect anyone of any age but are most likely to occur in women than men. This condition usually prevails among people over the age of 35 years. It is highly possible that women are more prone due to a decrease in estrogen levels after menopause.
What is a brain aneurysm?
Brain aneurysm refers to the formation of a bulge filled with blood in a weak region of a blood vessel in the brain. It is considered a life-threatening condition because if the brain aneurysm ruptures it will lead to stroke, brain damage and even death if immediate medical attention is not provided.
When a brain aneurysm bursts, it is known as subarachnoid hemorrhage. The formation of a brain aneurysm takes place gradually in time.
Cause of brain aneurysm
The exact reason for a person suffering from this condition is not known until now. If there is a history of occurrence of brain aneurysms in your family, you may have the risk factor of suffering from this condition. In most cases, people suffering from brain aneurysms have been reported with this condition running in their family history.
Some of the factors contributing to brain aneurysm are
- Excessive drinking & smoking
- High blood pressure
- Consumption of illicit drugs
- Head injury
People are also prone to brain aneurysm born with certain birth defects such as
- Inherited connective tissue disorder
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Abnormal narrow aorta
- Cerebral arteriovenous malformation
According to Gavin Britz, M.D, a Houston Methodist Neurosurgeon, even if the above factors are not applicable in some women, the possibility of any woman suffering from brain aneurysm is inescapable. The exact link between the condition and the gender is yet to be discovered but it is evident that women are more at risk especially after the age of 40.
Symptoms of unruptured brain aneurysm:
Symptoms of a brain aneurysm when unruptured remains undetectable in most cases. When the size of the brain aneurysm increases severely, the person may suffer from the following:
- Blurred vision
- Severe and regular headaches
- Pain above and behind the eyes
- Numbness of the face
- Dilated pupil of the eyes
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms for quite some time now, it is high time that you get yourself checked by a doctor.
The risk and possibility of a brain aneurysm rupturing are mainly dependent on its size and shape. Other than these, the bursting of brain aneurysm can be caused by numerous factors such as:
- Excessive workouts
- Straining during bowel movement
- Excessive caffeine consumption
- Sexual intercourse
Symptoms of ruptured brain aneurysm:
- A sensation of a snap in the head followed by an unbearable headache
- Light sensitivity
- Losing consciousness
- Blurred visions
- Disoriented and feeling dizzy
Diagnosis of a brain aneurysm
Commonly, brain aneurysms with their stealth mode are only detected when people go for diagnosis or treatment of other conditions. Few diagnosis tests which can detect brain aneurysm are:
- C.T Scan
- Cerebrospinal fluid test
- Cerebral angiogram
Treatment of brain aneurysm
The treatment of this condition depends on a few factors such as how much the condition has progressed so far, your age, size of the bulge and your health conditions. If it is in its initial stage, then the doctor may advise leading a healthy life to protect your blood vessels and will examine the brain aneurysm timely. In case the bulge ruptures, you may be prescribed pain relievers, calcium channel blockers, anti-seizure meds.
However, if the brain aneurysm is affecting your health prominently and increasing in size or has ruptured, doctors may suggest surgery depending on the severity of the situation. Surgery for treating brain aneurysm is performed in two different methods
- Surgical clipping
- Endovascular coiling
This is usually recommended in case of a ruptured brain aneurysm or advanced stage of the condition because the surgeries themselves are risky to perform.
So far it is clear that brain aneurysm is quite dangerous mainly because of its lack of symptoms in the initial stage. It is basically a ticking time bomb inside our heads. Scary, right?
Emilia Clarke or you may know her as Khaleesi, Mother of dragons was diagnosed with brain aneurysm recently and nearly survived from two of it. Worrying about brain aneurysm won’t help us in any way, all I can say is adopt a healthier life to lower the chances of you suffering from this condition.