Dilation of the body's main artery.
Although an aortic aneurysm doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, its potentially life-threatening complications often do. If you have a history of an aortic aneurysm and develop severe chest or back pain, trouble swallowing, sudden difficulty breathing, or low blood pressure and loss of consciousness call 911 immediately.
High blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and certain infections are potential causes of aortic aneurysms, as are genetic conditions such as Marfan syndrome.
Marfan syndrome occurs due to a change in the gene that regulates how the body makes connective tissue. Both men and women are equally at risk, and while there’s a 50% chance that someone with Marfan syndrome will pass it along to their child, 1 in 4 are diagnosed without a family history.
Given that Marfan syndrome involves weakened connective tissue, it’s not surprising that the aorta is one of the most affected parts of the body. If you have Marfan syndrome, it’s imperative that you visit your cardiologist to be screened for an aortic aneurysm.
The most successful form of treatment for those with aortic aneurysms is through medication, such as beta-blockers or angiotensin receptor blockers, in order to slow your heartbeat and lower your blood pressure. Your cardiologist might also recommend avoiding certain activities that can put your aorta at risk for complications. In more advanced cases surgery might be necessary in which cases the damaged portion of the aorta is replaced by a graft.