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An aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of a blood vessel resulting in an abnormal widening or ballooning. An aneurysm may occur in any blood vessel, but most often in an artery rather than a vein.
An aneurysm may be located in many areas of the body, such as blood vessels of the brain, the aorta (the largest artery in the body), the intestines, the kidney, the spleen and the vessels in the legs. The most common location of an aneurysm is the aorta, which carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the body.
An aneurysm can be characterized by its location, shape and cause.
Causes of Aneurysms
An aneurysm may be caused by multiple factors but the exact cause is not fully known. Atherosclerosis (a hardening of the arteries) is thought to play an important role. Risk factors associated with atherosclerosis include:
Other specific causes of aneurysms are related to the location of the aneurysm.
|Type of Aneurysm||Causes|
|Abdominal aortic aneurysm||
|Common iliac artery aneurysm||
|Femoral and popliteal artery aneurysm||
Symptoms of Aneurysms
Aneurysms may or may not have symptoms. Symptoms associated with aneurysms depend upon the location of the aneurysm in the body.
|Type of Aneurysm||Symptoms|
|Abdominal aortic aneurysm||Constant pain in abdomen, chest, lower back or groin area|
Sudden severe headache, nausea, vomiting, visual disturbance, loss of consciousness
|Common iliac aneurysm||
Lower abdominal, back and/or groin pain
|Femoral and popliteal artery aneurysm||Pulsation felt in the femoral artery (in the groin area) or popliteal artery (back of knee)|
The symptoms of an aneurysm may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for more information.
Treatment for Aneurysms
Treatment options for an aneurysm may include:
Find a San Diego Vascular Specialist
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego vascular specialist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.