Medical Terminology Made Simple: Aneurysm

Barry Lenson

Medical Terminology Made Simple: Aneurysm

Medical Terminology CourseAs a service to students who are thinking of entering the medical and medical support professions, StraighterLine is running short posts on medical terms. Each post will define one medical problem or condition.

Today’s medical term is . . . Aneurysm

Aneurysms occur when the wall of an artery grows thin and bulges out like a bubble or a blister. Sometimes they can be “silent,” meaning that they can be present for years without causing any problems. But when they burst, they can wreak havoc by causing internal bleeding. Unless they are treated promptly with surgical techniques after such ruptures occur, they can cause death.

Here are the two most serious forms:

  • Cerebral aneurysms occur in the wall of a blood vessel in the brain.
  • Aortic aneurysms occur in the wall of the aorta, which is the main artery that carries blood away from the heart.

Recent studies have indicated that there is a genetic link involved in aneurysms and if you have had parent or grandparent who died from one, you should keep an eye on the problem during your annual physical exams. The good news is that ultrasound and other diagnostic tools have made it possible to find aneurisms before they rupture. And there’s even more good news – some aortic aneurysms that have not yet burst can now be treated with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical techniques.

Also, smoking increases your risk of developing an aneurysm. If you smoke, there’s one more reason to quit.

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