What is an Aortic Aneurysm?
An aortic aneurysm is dilation of a part of the aorta which is the major blood vessel sending blood from the heart to the rest of the body. If the aorta is dilated it can potentially eventually rupture which is a life-threatening emergency.
Aortic aneurysm can be classified by where it is located. You can have a thoracic aortic aneurysm which is in the chest or an abdominal aortic aneurysm which is in the abdomen
If an aneurysm is found the doctor will monitor it carefully and treat you with lifestyle changes, medications and surgery if needed.
Many times aneurysms can be silent but potential symptoms include chest pain, back pain, abdominal pain, and pulsating at the navel.
Being a male smoker (or former smoker) significantly increases the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm. Men between the age of 65 to 75 who have ever smoked cigarettes should have a screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms using abdominal ultrasound. If you have never smoked but have a family history of aneurysms you may be recommended an ultrasound at age 60.