Have you heard of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)? If not, you’re not alone. AAA is a serious vascular
condition that is very treatable. Take a few minutes to learn more.
How does this happen? Your aorta carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. The walls of the aorta are usually flexible to allow for the passages of flowing blood. However, as the body ages or conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol set in, the aorta can become weak.
If this happens, the walls lose their shape and bulge out, creating an aneurysm.
What increases the chances of AAA?
Like most health problems, there are certain factors that can increase your risk for developing
the condition. For AAA, the leading risks are:
• Advancing age
• Being male
• Having high blood pressure
• Being a smoker
• Having a family history of AAA
Fortunately there are steps you can take in order to lower the risk of further complications. Those diagnosed with an AAA should follow these suggestions:
• Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the rate of aneurysm growth by 20 to 25 percent per year.
• Control high blood pressure.
When blood pressure levels become too high, they can greatly weaken the walls of the aorta.
• Control high cholesterol. Similar to the affects of high blood pressure, having high cholesterol only increases the chances of an aneurysm becoming a more serious health problem.
• Maintain a healthy body weight. Losing weight won’t entirely reduce the risk of an AAA. However, it may lower the risk of complications, if surgery is eventually needed.
If you have questions about AAA, or would like to make an appointment, visit us at Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville.