Lupus and
Cerebral Aneurysms

Cerebral (brain) Aneurysms

What is a brain aneurysm?
A brain aneurysm is a weak bulging spot in an artery of the brain. It resembles a small, thin balloon or a weak spot on a tire inner tube. Not all aneurysms are fatal, but all must be addressed by medical intervention.

What causes brain aneurysms?
Brain aneurysms are often the result of a congenital weakness (present at birth) in the muscle layer of the blood vessel wall. They may also be caused by infections or injury.

Risk Factors increase with:

What conditions are associated with cerebral aneurysm?

What are the symptoms of cerebral aneurysms?
A cerebral aneurysm may cause symptoms ranging from headaches, drowsiness, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting to more severe symptoms such as mental confusion, vertigo (dizziness) and loss of consciousness.

A ruptured aneurysm is most often accompanied by a severe headache that demands medical attention. The doctor takes an X-ray of the area to determine the exact location of the aneurysm. This information determines the patient's treatment options.

How can a cerebral aneurysm harm a person?
A ruptured aneurysm can lead to bleeding inside the head. Often, the aneurysm heals, bleeding stops and the patient survives. In more serious cases, the bleeding may cause brain damage with paralysis or coma. In the most severe cases, a ruptured cerebral aneurysm can lead to death.

How can brain aneurysms be detected?
Brain aneurysms can be detected by imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed axial tomography (CAT scans) and angiograms.

How are brain aneurysms treated?
Patients with cerebral aneurysm require intensive care and as little stress as possible. Once detected, most brain aneurysms can be repaired with microsurgery. This type of surgery is performed with the aid of an operating microscope and tiny instruments. During surgery, the aneurysm is identified and removed. After the aneurysm is removed, the wound is closed.

How are aneurysms prevented?
If you have a family member who has had an aneurysm, you should be evaluated and receive frequent screening tests. Although in most cases aneurysms are not hereditary, there are cases in which more than one family member develops an aneurysm.

Lifestyle changes to keep blood vessels healthy can also be beneficial in preventing aneurysms. These changes include:

Mayo Clinic, news release, Sept. 16, 2003
The Encyclopaedia of Medical Imaging Volume VII
Yahoo Health

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