Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
Arteries are muscular tubes that carry oxygen and nutrient rich blood away from the heart and toward the rest of the body. The largest artery in the body is located in the chest and carries blood directly from the heart. It is called the aorta. The part of the aorta that passed through abdomen in called the abdominal aorta. The abdominal aorta branches into two smaller arteries called the lilac arteries which supply blood to the organs in the abdomen, including the kidneys and legs.
When the abdominal aorta weakens and expands, it becomes an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). The pressure from blood flow can cause a weakened area of the abdominal aorta to expand and form a balloon-like bulge. An AAA poses a health risk because it can burst or rupture. This is can cause severe internal bleeding, which can be fatal.
Luckily, AAA can be treated and even cured, especially when diagnosed early.
An AAA is often causes no symptoms. It is usually found during a routine exam or if tests are done to an unrelated problem. If you do experience symptoms, these may include:
- Pulsing feeling in the abdomen (similar to a heartbeat)
- Severe, sudden pain in your abdomen or lower back. If you experience this, contact your doctor right away. It may be a sign your aneurysm is about to rupture.
- You may experience pain, discoloration, or sores on the toes or feet due to material shed from the aneurysm