Aortic Aneurysms

Thursday, January 13, 2011

An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the wall of the aorta, the bodys largest artery. Up to 47,000 people die each year from all types of aortic disease. Dr. Edward Hill discusses aortic aneurysms in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

The aorta is the bodys largest artery and carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The wall of the aorta is very elastic and can normally stretch and then shrink back as needed to adapt to blood flow. However, some medical conditions can weaken the arterial wall.

These factors, along with the wear and tear that naturally occurs with aging, can result in a weak aortic wall that may stretch and bulge outwards. This can result in an aortic aneurysm.

A bulging or enlarged vessel is weakened and can burst or rupture, resulting in life-threatening bleeding. This condition is the 10th leading cause of death in men 65 to 74 years of age in the United States.

Treatment for an aneurysm depends on its size and location. Quitting smoking and controlling high blood pressure are essential. Medications to lower high cholesterol coupled with programs that help you exercise, quit smoking and follow a heart-healthy diet can also be helpful. For larger aneurysms, surgery may be the best treatment option.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.