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An aneurysm refers to a weakening of an artery wall that creates a bulge, or distention, of the artery.

The causes of aneurysms are sometimes unknown. Some may be congenital, meaning a person is born with them. Aortic disease or an injury may also cause an aneurysm. A family history of aneurysm may increase your risk for developing an aneurysm. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking.

Aneurysms often have no symptoms. If an aneurysm expands quickly or ruptures, symptoms may ​develop suddenly and include:

  • Pain

  • Clammy skin

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Shock

  • Low blood pressure

Aneurysms can occur in any artery in the body. The most common aneurysms are:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs in the stomach

  • Cerebral aneurysm occurs in the brain

  • Mesenteric artery aneurysm occurs in the intestines

  • Popliteal artery aneurysm occurs in the artery behind the knee

  • Splenic artery aneurysm occurs in an artery in the spleen

Aneurysms are diagnosed with ultrasound, CT scan, or angiogram.

 

If you’ve been diagnosed with an aneurysm, work closely with your doctor to monitor any changes to the aneurysm. Your condition may require regular check ups depending on the aneurysm’s size and location.