1 in 50 people have a brain aneurysm yet most people don’t know what one is.
By Abby Regensburger
Over spring break, a routine MRA showed I had a 0.2 cm aneurysm in the left ICA cavernous segment of my brain.
According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, “A brain aneurysm is a weak, bulging area in an artery.” Despite 1 in 50 people in the United States having an unruptured brain aneurysm, they are rarely discussed. In fact, many living with an aneurysm don’t even know they have one.
Once an aneurysm ruptures, chances of survival are 50%. Of those who survive, around 66% will have permanent brain damage.
Even with such a high mortality rate after rupture, people diagnosed with aneurysms can live long, healthy lives. Almost all aneurysms can be treated if they are detected early. This can be accomplished with regular scans and knowing the symptoms to look out for.
Research shows individuals that have a relative with a brain aneurysm are at a higher risk of developing one compared to those who don’t. It is recommended that people with a family history of brain aneurysms get an MRA every few years in order to prevent any future medical problems.
The reason behind my scan was family history. My first cousin once removed passed away from a ruptured aneurysm, my great-aunt experienced brain damage from one that ruptured, and my other great-aunt needed surgery to prevent the multiple aneurysms she has from rupturing.
Had it not been for that routine scan, I may have never known I had a brain aneurysm until it was too late.
The Stop the Pop Campaign started by the Brain Aneurysm Foundation was created as a way to bring awareness to brain aneurysms in order to prevent ruptures.
According the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, symptoms to look out for are,
- A sudden and severe headache, often described as “the worst headache of my life.”
- Stiff neck
- Blurred or double vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Drooping eyelid
- A dilated pupil
- Pain above and behind the eye
- Loss of consciousness
- Weakness and/or numbness
It is crucial you call 911 if you are suffering from any of these symptoms. First responders may need to use life-saving procedures that a family member or friend will be unable to do while taking you to the hospital.
Being diagnosed with a brain aneurysm isn’t a death sentence. Changing your diet, watching your blood pressure and lowering your consumption of alcohol and liquor are all ways you can prevent an aneurysm from growing.