Causes of a Brain Aneurysm

If you understand the causes of a brain aneurysm, you may be able to ward off this dangerous medical condition. If a brain aneurysm is detected and corrected in time, you may be spared the tragedy of a ruptured aneurysm, which often results in stroke or death. Aneurysms are serious medical conditions that must be monitored and treated appropriately.

What Is a Brain Aneurysm?
A brain aneurysm will look like a berry hanging on a vine, but in actuality it is a weakened spot in a blood vessel where the vessel has ballooned. Think of a garden hose with a weak spot on the wall: water pushes out into this weaker area, and if the pressure rises enough, it pops.

Brain aneurysms are often detected when your physician is checking for other medical conditions. You may realize you have an aneurysm if you suddenly get a horrendous headache like you've never experienced before. These headaches happen when an aneurysm is expanding in size, pressing on nerves inside your head.

Causes of brain aneurysms vary. You can develop an aneurysm as a result of high blood pressure, a weakening of the blood vessels in your head or an unusual strain. If you are susceptible to aneurysms or have been diagnosed with a small aneurysm, you will want to do as much as you can to lower your blood pressure and prevent sudden spikes of blood pressure. Most aneurysms rupture as the result of a sudden spike in blood pressure.

Actions You Can Take to Reduce Your Blood Pressure:

  • Reduce Stress: Look for the situations in your life that cause serious stress and make changes where possible. Is your job stressing you out? Look for a new one with less pressure. Do you live with someone stressful? Look for a way to reduce contact. Are there particular situations or interactions that get you worked up, such as commuting during rush hour, interacting with a rude neighbor or dealing with a crabby daycare provider? Find peaceful alternatives. If you feel your heart racing or your face start to flush, you know that your stress level is too high.
  • Exercise Daily: Try easing into gentle exercise such as walking, water aerobics or yoga. Exercise strengthens blood vessels and helps your body eliminate stress. Talk to your doctor about exercise before you begin, as some types of exercise will be off limits.
  • Practice Meditation: By meditating as little as 10 minutes a day, you can reduce your blood pressure. Try guided mediation, listening to soft music or all-over relaxation exercises.
  • Take Medication: If your doctor prescribes medication to lower your blood pressure, take it faithfully. Don't quit taking it when your blood pressure goes down a little.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking affects blood pressure and your heart and lung health. Your blood vessels constrict and your blood pressure rises when you smoke. You may find it calming, but your body doesn't. What really causes that feeling of calmness is getting away from a stressful situation and giving yourself a treat that you crave. Look for a substitute, but stay away from high-calorie, high-fat or high-sugar foods that can make your blood pressure worse.
  • Do not Lift Heavy Objects: Many aneurysms are caused by the elevation of blood pressure related to lifting or hauling heavy objects. Put your pride aside and have someone else rearrange the furniture or lift that box full of books.

If you're healthy enough and the aneurysm can be reached, your doctor may recommend surgery. Weigh this option carefully, as surgery to repair a brain aneurysm can be quite risky. Always get a second opinion, and find out if medication and lifestyle changes will be enough to help you manage the condition.

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