With a vast network of doctors who specialize in vascular neurosurgery and aneurysms, you are in good hands at Banner Health. Our team of experts will provide comprehensive care for you and your brain.

What Is an Aneurysm?

An aneurysm is the weakening of an artery wall and usually causes bulging in the artery. When referring to a brain aneurysm this means a bulge in the blood vessel within the brain.

What’s the Difference Between an Aneurysm and a Stroke?

While both have similar effects on the body and brain, there is a difference between an aneurysm and a stroke. An aneurysm is the weakening of an artery wall that can rupture causing a bleed while a hemorrhagic stroke refers to a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. Some may use these terms interchangeably but it’s important to note the difference between an aneurysm and a stroke. 

What are Aneurysm Risk Factors?

Risk factors for developing an aneurysm can depend on your genetics as well as habits, gender and age.

Hereditary risk factors for an aneurysm to be aware of:

  • History of aneurysms in your child, sibling or parent
  • Tissue disorders that weaken artery walls
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)

Habits that may be risk factors for aneurysms include:

  • Untreated high blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Drug abuse
  • Poor diet

Other factors to take into account include:

  • Age - being over the age of 40
  • Gender - women are more likely to develop aneurysms than men
  • Head trauma

Some research connects brain aneurysm and dementia. Lower your risk of an aneurysm by eating healthy, controlling blood pressure, exercising regularly and quitting smoking.

Types of Aneurysms and Where They Can Occur

While aneurysms can occur in different parts of the body, they are most likely to be found in the brain, aorta, behind the knee or spleen/intestines. These types of aneurysms can be classified as ruptured and unruptured. If a brain aneurysm ruptures, this may result in a stroke, brain damage or death, so it’s important to know the signs of symptoms of an aneurysm.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of an Aneurysm?

Depending on the type of aneurysm you have (ruptured or unruptured), some signs and symptoms may vary.

Signs of a ruptured aneurysm may include:

  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Neck stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Speech difficulties
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seizure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion

If you are experiencing these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Aneurysm Diagnosis & Treatments

If you are experiencing severe headaches as well as other symptoms, we know you want answers and relief as quickly as possible. Banner Health uses the latest imaging and diagnostic technology to diagnose aneurysms, such as:

After your doctor has diagnosed you, your doctor may discuss aneurysm treatment options such as:

Surgical clipping: This procedure uses open brain surgery to clip the aneurysm for definitive occlusion. Cutting the blood supply to the aneurysm can be highly successful in stopping the aneurysm from recurring.

Endovascular coiling: While less invasive than surgical clipping, endovascular coiling uses coils to block the aneurysm. While the majority of aneurysm treated in this manner are successfully obliterated, with some aneurysms, they can sometimes recur.

Flow diverters: Mostly used to treat larger aneurysms in certain locations, flow diverters are used to reduce blood flow to the aneurysm.

Talk to your neurosurgeon about the best aneurysm treatment options for you.

The team of experts at Banner Health is here to help navigate life after an aneurysm diagnosis or rupture. Contact us today with any questions.