Some vascular conditions are more common in men than in women. One of which is abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Research shows that it predominantly affects more males than females.

AAA occurs when there is an enlargement on the lower part of the major vessel that supplies blood to the heart. This vessel is called the aorta and it’s more than one foot long.

The aorta is a cane-shaped vessel and starts in the left chamber of your heart and ends at your pelvis. Its main purpose is to serve as a passageway on which the oxygen-rich blood travels from the heart to the rest of the body.

Risk Factors in the Development of AAA
There are several factors that can lead to the development of AAA. This includes:

• Atherosclerosis
• Cerebrovascular disease
• Coronary artery disease
• History of other vascular aneurysm
• High blood cholesterol
• Hypertension
• Obesity
• Old age
• Smoking

Symptoms of AAA
Not all people with AAA have symptoms especially if the aneurysm is just small. However, you can start experiencing the symptoms once the enlargement gets worse. You may experience:

• General belly pain or discomfort that comes and goes (this is the most common symptom)
• Pain in the chest, belly, or lower back
• A pulsating feeling in the belly
• Unexplained weight loss
• Fever (this can happen if the aneurysm is a result of infection)

When left undetected, the aneurysm can rupture and cause:

• Sudden severe pain
• Extreme drop in blood pressure
• Signs of shock

A ruptured aneurysm is a medical emergency. If you suspect you or your loved one is suffering from one, call 911 immediately.

Can you prevent AAA?
You cannot 100 percent prevent an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, especially if you have a family history of it. However, there are things you can do to lower your risk.

This includes quitting smoking, adopting a healthier lifestyle, managing your weight, and moderating your alcohol intake.

If you have a family history of it, your doctor may recommend the AAA screening. The U.S. The Preventive Services Task Force recommends one time AAA screening with ultrasonography in men aged 65 to 75 who have ever smoked. This screening can be done part of routine health screening for smokeless men of the same age.

Research shows that screening for aneurysm is worth it as it can reduce the incidence of ruptured aneurysm and consequently, incidence of death.

The board-certified Vascular Surgeons of Premier Vascular and Vein Center in Knoxville are specially trained to diagnose and repair abdominal aortic aneurysms using endovascular or open repair techniques..

If you are concerned about your risk of AAA, call us. Our vascular team can assess your health and medical history and recommend the appropriate course of action. To request an appointment with a Vascular Specialist at Premier Vascular and Vein Center, call us at (865) 588-8229 or book online by completing this request form.