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Cerebral saccular aneurysms have been associated with two factors:
An abnormal degenerative (breaking down) change in the wall of an artery
The effects of pressure from the blood being pumped forward through the arteries in the brain
Certain locations of an aneurysm may create greater pressure on the aneurysm, such as at a bifurcation (where the artery divides).
Risk Factors for Brain Aneurysms
Brain aneurysms have been linked to risk factors that are inherited or those that you may develop later in life (acquired risk factors).
A risk factor is anything that may increase your chances of developing a disease. It may be an activity, such as smoking, diet and family history. Different diseases have different risk factors.
Although these risk factors increase a person's risk, they do not necessarily cause the disease. Some people with one or more risk factors never develop the disease, while others develop disease and have no known risk factors. Knowing your risk factors for any disease can help you make smart health care decisions, including changing behaviors and undergoing regular monitoring for the disease.
Acquired Risk Factors for Brain Aneurysms
Acquired risk factors associated with brain aneurysm formation include:
Age (older than 40 years of age)
Family history of aneurysms
Alcohol consumption (especially binge drinking)
Atherosclerosis (a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery)
Current cigarette smoking
Use of illicit drugs, such as cocaine or amphetamine
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Trauma (injury) to the head
Inherited Risk Factors for Brain Aneurysm
Inherited risk factors associated with brain aneurysm formation include:
Alpha-glucosidase deficiency: A complete or partial deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme, alpha-glucosidase. This enzyme is necessary to break down glycogen and to convert it into glucose.
Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency: A hereditary disease that may lead to hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver or emphysema of the lungs
Arteriovenous malformation (AVM): An abnormal connection between an artery and a vein. Learn more about AVM.
Coarctation of the aorta: A narrowing of the aorta (the main artery coming from the heart). Learn more about coarctation of the aorta.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome: A connective tissue disorder (less common).
Female gender: Women are more at risk for developing brain aneurysms.
Fibromuscular dysplasia: An arterial disease, cause unknown, that most often affects the medium and large arteries of young to middle-aged women
Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia: A genetic disorder of the blood vessels in which there is a tendency to form blood vessels that lack capillaries between an artery and vein.
Klinefelter syndrome: A genetic condition in men in which an extra X chromosome is present. Learn more about Klinefelter syndrome.
Noonan's syndrome: A genetic disorder that causes abnormal development of many parts and systems of the body.
Polycystic kidney disease (PCKD): A genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts filled with fluid in the kidneys. PCKD is the most common medical disease associated with saccular aneurysms.
Tuberous sclerosis: A type of neurocutaneous syndrome that can cause tumors to grow inside the brain, spinal cord, organs, skin and skeletal bones. Learn more about tuberous sclerosis.
Dangers of Brain Aneurysms
The danger from a brain aneurysm is that it will continue to bulge and may burst. When an aneurysm in a large blood vessel or in the heart bursts, a person could bleed to death. When an aneurysm bursts in the brain, a stroke (brain attack) can result. We provide individualized treatment plan to prevent the risk of hemorrhage. Learn more about brain aneurysm treatments.
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