Understanding Brain Aneurysms
Within our bodies are important blood vessels called arteries, which carry blood from the heart to the rest of our organs. If a weak spot develops along an artery wall, that artery may begin to bulge, resembling a balloon filling with air.
Aneurysm is the medical term for a bulging artery. If the bulging artery is located in your brain, it is called a brain aneurysm (also known as cerebral aneurysm).
If a brain aneurysm ruptures, meaning the bulge has burst, blood will leak into your brain. This is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical treatment.
While there are a number of risk factors for brain aneurysms – smoking, high blood pressure, age over 40, being a woman, alcohol or drug use, and traumatic brain injury – one risk factor not as well known is having a family history of brain aneurysm. Board member Ajay K. Wakhloo, MD, PhD, chief of neuro-interventional radiology and a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine says, “Advocating for a screening program is an important preventive measure. In our community, we see familial incidence of brain aneurysms in approximately 15 percent of people.”