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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (cont.)

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What are risk factors for aortic aneurysms?

The risk factors for aortic aneurysm are the same as those for atherosclerotic heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease and include:

  • Cigarette smoking: This not only increases the risk of developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm, but also increases the risk of aneurysm rupture. Aortic rupture is a life-threatening event where blood escapes the aorta and the patient can quickly bleed to death.
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated blood cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes mellitus

What is the most common cause of aortic aneurysms?

The most common cause of aortic aneurysms is "hardening of the arteries" called arteriosclerosis. At least 80% of aortic aneurysms are from arteriosclerosis. The arteriosclerosis can weaken the aortic wall and the increased pressure of the blood being pumped through the aorta causes weakness of the inner layer of the aortic wall.

The aortic wall has three layers, the tunica adventitia, tunica media, and tunica intima. The layers add strength to the aorta as well as elasticity to tolerate changes in blood pressure. Chronically increased blood pressure causes the media layer to break down and leads to the continuous, slow dilation of the aorta.

Smoking is a major cause of aortic aneurysm. Studies have shown that the rate of aortic aneurysm has fallen at the same rate as population smoking rates.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/10/2012

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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience with your abdominal aortic aneurysm?
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - Surgery Experience Question: Did you or a relative have surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm? What was the outcome?
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - Rupture Question: Do you have a friend or relative who had a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm? Please share your experience.
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/abdominal_aortic_aneurysm/article.htm

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