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Brain Aneurysm: The Silent Killer

It can strike without warning and if not treated quickly, can have devastating effects. Brain aneurysms. An estimated one in 50 people in the U.S. has this serious medical condition. Doctor Janette Nesheiwat explains, brain aneurysms are most often diagnosed between the ages of 35 to 60.
It can strike without warning and if not treated quickly, can have devastating effects. Brain aneurysms. An estimated one in 50 people in the U.S. has this serious medical condition.

Doctor Janette Nesheiwat explains, brain aneurysms are most often diagnosed between the ages of 35 to 60.

“It's been called a silent killer-and with good reason,” says Dr. Nesheiwat. “A ruptured brain aneurysm is fatal in about 40 percent of cases and it typically has no warning signs.”

Rita Vest had suffered from sinus headaches before, she didn't realize she was having a classic symptom of an aneurysm.

"I just remember sitting up on the side of the bed and reaching for the bathroom door, then yelling for my husband,” says Vest.

Dr. Nesheiwat says many patients describe the pain as having the worst headache of your life.

Other symptoms include:

  • nausea/vomiting,
  • blurred vision,
  • slurred speech,
  • loss of consciousness

Brain aneurysms are treated either through surgery or, if the aneurysm is too small, close monitoring is needed.

In addition to high blood pressure, other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Family history
  • Previous brain bleeding or trauma
  • Connective tissue disorder

“Some patients like Rita suffered neurological damage,” says Dr. Nesheiwat.

Even with treatment, she says, the damage can be hard to handle emotionally.

"I can't work anymore,” says Vest. “I don't see as well as I used to.”

When asked what keeps her going, Vest replies with a simple, yet powerful answer.

“My family, my husband, and my grand daughter,” she says.

Each year almost half a million people die from brain aneurysms.

“To help protect yourself against a brain aneurysm avoid smoking,” says Dr. Nesheiwat. “And maintain normal blood pressure.”

If you experience a sudden or severe headache, get medical attention immediately because when it comes to treating a brain aneurysm, every minute counts.

When it comes to brain aneurysms, women are more likely to get them than men. They can also occur in children.

While it can be a frightening diagnosis, educating yourself can help reduce the fear and start the healing process.

For more information, you can go to their web site at www.bafound.org.

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