Can you detect a brain aneurysm?

A brain aneurysm that hasn’t burst can be very hard to detect. Some people may have a small brain aneurysm and go their entire lives without knowing it.

A brain aneurysm is a weak bulging spot on the wall of a brain artery very much like a thin balloon or weak spot on an inner tube, but if they rupture they can cause disability or death.

Small unruptured aneurysms display almost no symptoms, however, large unruptured aneurysms can occasionally press on the brain or the nerves stemming out of the brain and may result in various neurological symptoms.

This can cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain behind the eye
  • Dilated pupil
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the face
  • Pain behind the eye
  • Visual changes, such as seeing double

Some people have a family history of brain aneurysms, and they may undergo imaging studies to help a doctor identify if the person may have one that hasn’t burst.

If two or more members of the family are affected with brain aneurysms, then aneurysm screening (with brain MRI or brain CT scan) is usually recommended for at least the first degree relatives over the age of 25.

Those with a family history of aneurysms are more likely to have multiple aneurysms and those aneurysms are more likely to rupture at a smaller size. The risk of aneurysm detection in these family members is increased in women, those with hypertension, and in cigarette smokers.

For more information about brain aneurysms visit brainfoundation.org.au.

Related articles:
Understanding cardiovascular disease
Heart disease hotspots revealed
Heart disease and what to do

Written by Ben

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