You may have already heard, but June is Men’s Health Month. This month is near and dear to many of us at BICRAD, and we wanted to take the time to talk about one major, little-known health condition associated with men’s health. As men, we are prone to some conditions that solely affect our gender, and to others which simply appear more often in men than in women. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is one of those conditions.
Knowing the risk factors for an abdominal aortic aneurysm as well as the signs of an abdominal aortic aneurysm is extremely important in preventing more serious complications. Let’s learn a little more about this condition and what signs to look out for.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm, also known as a Triple-A, is a condition that causes an enlarged area in the lower abdominal aorta — the major blood vessel that spreads blood to all parts of the body.
If they rupture, abdominal aortic aneurysms can cause life-threatening internal bleeding, which is why they often require close monitoring.
An ultrasound screening of the abdomen can identify whether you suffer from an abdominal aortic aneurysm, and can help determine its size and growth rate, which may vary widely from person to person.
Knowing how quickly your abdominal aortic aneurysm is growing will determine your level of risk for rupture. If you do suffer from a rupture, you may require emergency surgery which can also be very risky.
When Should You Get An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening?
Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms tends to start at the age of 65 for men. If you are a regular smoker, or if you have smoked for a long time, your doctor will probably recommend you get an ultrasound screening. If you are 65 and have never smoked, your doctor may or may not recommend the screening, typically it will depend on other risk factors such as family history and your overall health status.
That is not to say that if you are younger than 65 you should not worry yourself. At any age, if feel like you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with the condition, or if you identify with any of the risk factors, then you may want to take some time to bring this up to your doctor and let him decide whether you may be at an early risk for the condition.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Causes And Risk Factors
Knowing the causes and risk factors for this condition may help you determine whether you are at risk for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Here are some of the main causes and risk factors for abdominal aortic aneurysms:
Hardening of the arteries
High blood pressure
Blood vessel diseases in the aorta
Infection in the aorta
Age (65 +)
Being a white male
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Symptoms And Signs
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned below, it may be a good idea to schedule an ultrasound, especially if any of the above risk factors apply to you as well. Abdominal aortic aneurysms can be pretty unpredictable, and catching them before they rupture is essential. Here are some of the symptoms you should look out for:
A pulsating feeling near your navel
Deep, constant pain in your abdomen or on the side of your abdomen
If you are suffering from an abdominal aortic aneurysm rupture, you will probably experience:
Sudden, intense and persisting pain in your abdomen or back.
A very painful, tearing sensation
Low blood pressure
This Men’s Health Month, be sure to set aside some time to make all of those health appointments you’ve kept meaning to get to. Nothing is more important than your health and when it comes to abdominal aortic aneurysms, ultrasound screenings are usually just a one-time thing. If you’d like to learn more this condition, including what you can do to prevent it, feel free to contact us. To meet with one of our radiologists for an ultrasound screening, book an appointment today!