An abdominal aortic aneurysm may not cause symptoms, but if it ruptures, it can be fatal. How to protect yourself?

An abdominal aortic aneurysm may not cause symptoms, but if it ruptures, it can be fatal.  How to protect yourself?

A sick person often finds out about an abdominal aortic aneurysm only when it ruptures. This situation poses a threat to our lives. However, it can be easily prevented.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a silent killer because it usually does not produce any characteristic symptoms that could be a “warning sign” that something bad is happening. However, if it breaks, it may even result in death. The risk of rupture depends mainly on the diameter of the aneurysm – if it is larger than 7 cm, it occurs in 20-40 percent of patients. However, there is a test that allows you to diagnose the disease early enough and prevent its negative consequences.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm – this test can save your life

The test that helps diagnose an abdominal aortic aneurysm is abdominal ultrasound. This simple procedure allows you to detect any disturbing change early enough. This screening test for the presence of an abdominal aortic aneurysm is simple, quick and painless.

“You just need to move early enough abdominal ultrasound. There is no need for any complicated tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography. Even a simple ultrasound, or even better a Doppler ultrasound, used to assess arteries and veins, is enough. It is worth undergoing such a screening test and this is what we appeal for as vascular surgeons who operate on aneurysms. – said Professor Przemysław Nowakowski, vascular surgeon, head of the Vascular Surgery Department of the Małopolska Cardiovascular Center PAKS in Chrzanów, in an interview with the Polish Press Agency.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm – who should undergo ultrasound?

Men are most at risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm – this disease occurs four times more often in them than in women. People at increased risk also include cigarette smokers, but also people with elevated cholesterol levels and hypertension. Genetic predisposition to this disease is also a risk factor.

The incidence of abdominal aortic aneurysms increases with age. Due to the increase in life expectancy, this disease affects more and more people. “Every person over 50 years of age should undergo this examination. It is also worth performing other screening tests, such as colonoscopy (inspection of the large intestine). Abdominal ultrasound is neither expensive nor difficult for the patient, and there are no major problems with its availability. And it allows you to detect even small aneurysms. All you need to do is monitor them to plan the patient’s surgical treatment at the optimal time,” explains the specialist in an interview with PAP.

When is surgical treatment of an abdominal aortic aneurysm necessary?

Thanks to abdominal ultrasound, it is possible to assess the size of any changes, as well as the risk associated with them. If the doctor detects small aneurysms during the examination, you should remain under constant medical observation. Although they rarely rupture, they must be regularly examined to check whether the aneurysm is not growing and, if so, at what rate.

If there are any doubts, computed tomography is performed. This test is necessary in the case of large aneurysms (which are associated with the risk of death). Then surgical treatment should be performed. If the aneurysm reaches approximately 6 cm, the risk of its rupture increases significantly. How fast does an aneurysm grow? It is from 0.2 cm to even 1 cm per year. Surgical intervention is indicated for aneurysms with a diameter of 5.5 cm and larger.

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