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Brain and Cerebral Aneurysm

A Brain and cerebral aneurysm is the formation of a bulge or balloon-like structure in the blood vessels of the brain. This aneurysm usually arises in between the layers of the brain and the surrounding tissues covering them. The rupture of an aneurysm leads to the spillage of blood in the brain, thereby affecting the normal functioning of the brain.

Brain and cerebral aneurysm requires immediate medical intervention and can prove to be fatal when appropriate treatment is not provided.

Brain and cerebral aneurysm affect adult population over children, with maximum cases reported in women when compared to men.

Symptoms

The symptoms of brain and cerebral aneurysm usually begin with a sharp headache. The symptoms of brain aneurysm depend on the nature of an aneurysm whether non-ruptured or ruptured. Thus, the symptoms of brain aneurysm can be classified according to its nature.

The common symptoms of a non-ruptured brain aneurysm include:

  • Severe headache
  • Eye pain
  • Drooping of eyelids
  • Muscle weakness and numbness on one side of the face
  • Dilated pupils

The symptoms of a brain and cerebral aneurysm include:

  • Stiffness of the neck
  • A sudden onset of a headache
  • Increased severity of a headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Vision impairment
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Drooping of eyelid

In certain cases, brain and cerebral aneurysm may cause leakage thereby producing intense pain.

Causes

Brain and cerebral aneurysm can occur anywhere in the brain but are majorly observed in the arteries at the base the brain. These conditions develop due to the thinning of the walls of the artery, thereby making them weaker. These aneurysms may also occur at the branches of the arteries that are generally weaker.

Risk factors

A wide range of risk factors develops over a period of time. However, certain factors present from childbirth are known to cause brain and cerebral aneurysm.

The risk factors present since childbirth include:

  • Family history of a brain aneurysm
  • Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in the brain leads to disrupted blood flow between the arteries and the vein. Thereby, leading to decreased blood flow.
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is an inherited disorder of the vessels, which cause weakening of the blood vessels.

The risk factors of brain and cerebral aneurysm in adults include:

  • Age: The incidences of developing brain aneurysm increases with age with a larger number of cases reported in the older population.
  • Atherosclerosis: It is a condition of hardening of arteries. The hardening or stiffness of arteries in the brain increases the risk of developing brain aneurysm.
  • Head injury: A history of brain injury or trauma
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol consumption

Complications

The complications of brain aneurysm arise due to the rupture of the blood vessels in the brain that last for only a few seconds. The rupture usually leads to spillage of blood on the brain cells, thereby causing damage to the brain cells and the surrounding tissues.

The spillage of blood on the brain cells also increases the intracranial pressure. The increased intracranial pressure causes damage to the skull and the brain cells. In severe cases, the increased intracranial pressure may cause death.

The other complications of brain and cerebral aneurysm include:

Re-bleed: An existing aneurysm is more likely to cause re-bleeding and cause damage to the brain cells.

Vasospasm: The constriction of blood vessels of the brain occurs after the rupture of an aneurysm. This limits the flow of blood to the brain, thereby causing additional damage to the brain cells.

Hydrocephalus: The bleeding caused due to the rupture of an aneurysm causes a block or decreased the circulation of fluid covering the brain and the spinal cord. This condition leads to the accumulation of the fluid thereby increasing the intracranial pressure and causes damage to the brain tissues.

Treatment

Surgery

Brain and cerebral aneurysm can be treated effectively by surgical methods such as surgical clipping and endovascular coiling.

  • Surgical clipping: The procedure involves opening a part of the skull that makes the blood vessel and the aneurysm accessible. A small metal clip is then placed over an aneurysm that stops the flow of blood into an aneurysm.
  • Endovascular coiling: It is a minimally invasive procedure where a surgical clip is inserted through the artery present near the groin. The tube consisting clip is directed towards the brain by clipping the aneurysm. The clip inserted stops the flow of blood into an aneurysm and forms the clot.

Medication therapy

Medication therapy is used to relieve the symptoms of brain and cerebral aneurysm such as painkiller, calcium channel blocker and anticonvulsant drugs.

  • Pain-killers: These agents are used to relieve the symptoms of headache and pain in other parts of the body.
  • Calcium channel blockers: These agents are used to prevent the constriction of the blood vessels. Thus, it acts by reducing the risk of brain damage due to brain and cerebral aneurysm.
  • Anti-convulsant agents: These agents are used to treat and prevent the risk of seizures caused due to brain and cerebral aneurysm.

Management

The rupture of an aneurysm in the brain may affect the cognitive and other motor functions in the body. Thus, proper rehabilitation measures should be provided by extending occupational and speech therapy. This ensures better response and recovery from the condition.

Following lifestyle modifications such as limiting the use of cigarette, occupational drugs and heavy use of alcohol and caffeine reduce the risk of rupture of brain aneurysm.

Maintaining normal blood pressure and avoiding lifting heavy weights reduces stress on the body and also reduces the risk of the rupture of aneurysm.

 

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