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7 signs that can help you survive an aneurysm

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You probably know the signs of a stroke — trouble walking, slurred speech, weakness or numbness on one side of your body, paralysis. But there’s another brain condition that can be just as deadly, yet most people are still clueless about its signs…

It’s a brain aneurysm. And it develops when a blood vessel wall in your brain gets weak and begins bulging or ballooning. Technically, a brain aneurysm won’t kill you right away. It doesn’t become a problem until it leaks or ruptures. Once that happens, your brain starts bleeding, and your life is on the line.

But if you catch a ruptured brain aneurysm early enough, you can get medical attention before it’s too late. Of course, you need to know exactly what to look out for, like:

  • The worst headache of your life
  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)
  • Double vision
  • Pain behind your eye socket
  • Lethargy
  • Neck stiffness
  • A loss of consciousness

If you notice any of these signs, seek medical attention right away. You can also watch out for signs of an unruptured aneurysm, like:

  • A dilated pupil
  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis of one side of the face
  • A drooping eyelid

Now, you can live with an unruptured aneurysm for a long time without even knowing it. That’s because, a lot of times, it has no symptoms. Sometimes it’s diagnosed by chance when you have a CT scan for an unrelated reason. Of course, if you know you have an unruptured aneurysm, you’ll want to do everything you can to prevent a deadly rupture…

The two most important things you can do are: quit smoking and maintain a healthy blood pressure. Both of those things cause your rupture risk to skyrocket. You should also avoid alcohol, recreational drugs, caffeine, blood thinning drugs like aspirin and oral contraceptives.

And don’t forget to keep your heart in good shape — arteriosclerosis is another huge rupture risk factor. Constipation is a problem too —  straining on the toilet has been known to cause aneurysms to rupture. To keep your heart and gut health in order, you’ll want to eat well and exercise regularly. But a word of warning… if you have a large brain aneurysm, exercising vigorously could increase your risk for a rupture.

If you want to prevent yourself from developing a brain aneurysm in the first place, you can follow all the same tips listed above — they’re the best way to keep your blood vessels strong and your brain aneurysm-free.

Sources:
  1. “Brain aneurysm.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  2. “Brain aneurysm: lack of awareness can cost lives.” Medical Xpress. http://medicalxpress.com. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
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