An abdominal aortic aneurysm (sometimes called AAA) is a weak area in the wall of the aorta, the major artery that delivers oxygen-rich blood to the lower body. An aneurysm can bulge outward and eventually burst, which can be life threatening. Large aneurysms can require surgery to prevent rupture. For smaller aneurysms, doctors may suggest watchful waiting.
Find a treatment plan that fits your needs for abdominal aortic aneurysm in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV at Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican hospitals. Find a cardiologist or call (702) 616-4900 to get a referral.
Symptoms of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Abdominal aortic aneurysm symptoms often include pain in the belly, chest, back, neck, or jaw, a sensation of feeling your heartbeat in your abdomen, or difficulty breathing. However, AAA is often called a “silent” disease because you may not have any symptoms until the situation becomes catastrophic. For this reason, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends AAA screening for men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have ever smoked. Women don’t need to be screened since they are at a lower risk for abdominal aortic aneurysm.
If an abdominal aortic aneurysm ruptures, it can cause symptoms such as:
- Lower back or abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of consciousness
A ruptured AAA is a life-threatening condition and requires immediate treatment, so you should call 911 if you are experiencing the above signs.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Causes
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a bulge that can develop anywhere along the major artery that extends from the heart into the pelvic area. Aneurysms are caused by the force of blood pumping through an artery. Over time, the pressure of blood flowing through the aorta can weaken the vessel wall and cause the wall to bulge outward, causing an aneurysm.
Researchers don’t know the exact causes of abdominal aortic aneurysms, but they do know certain risk factors make you more likely to have AAA. These risk factors include being male, being over age 65, smoking, being overweight, having hardening of the arteries, and having high blood pressure (hypertension).
Treating Your Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm at Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals
Treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysm focuses on avoiding a rupture. Once an AAA has been identified, doctors generally monitor the aneurysm with yearly scans. If the aneurysm becomes very large, surgery to place a stent inside the artery at the weakened area may be recommended. This relieves pressure on the artery wall in order to prevent a rupture.
You may be able to prevent an AAA by engaging in a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling high blood pressure, and getting regular exercise. You can trust your comprehensive cardiac care to Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican.
Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican hospitals provides diagnosis and treatment options for abdominal aortic aneurysm in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.