A cerebral aneurysm is a bulge in a
weak area of the wall of a brain artery. It puffs out like a small balloon. It is also
called an intracranial aneurysm or brain aneurysm. The bulge is also known as a bleb. It
makes the artery more likely to tear (rupture) in that spot.
A cerebral aneurysm more often
happens in an artery under the front part of the brain. But arteries anywhere in the
brain can get an aneurysm.
A normal artery wall is made up of
3 layers. The wall where the aneurysm forms is thin and weak. The weak area is caused by
too little muscle in the artery wall. There are several types of aneurysms. They
Most cerebral aneurysms don't cause
symptoms. Most are small. They are less than 0.4 inches (10 millimeters) across.
Smaller aneurysms may be less likely to break.
Researchers don't fully know what
causes cerebral aneurysms. They are linked to several things. These include:
You are more at risk for an
aneurysm if you have 1 of the inherited problems below:
Other risk factors linked to
aneurysms may include:
These risk factors increase a
person's risk. But they don't necessarily cause the disease. Some people with 1 or more
risk factors never develop the disease. Others develop the disease and have no known
risk factors. Knowing your risk factors to any disease can help to guide you to change
behaviors and be checked for the disease.
You may not know you have a
cerebral aneurysm until it tears (ruptures). Most cerebral aneurysms have no symptoms
and are small in size. Smaller aneurysms may have a lower risk for rupture.
In some cases, symptoms may happen
before a rupture. This is because of blood that may leak. This is called sentinel
hemorrhage around the brain. Some aneurysms also cause symptoms because they press on
nearby structures. These can include nerves to the eye. They can cause vision loss. Or
it make it harder to move your eye even if the aneurysm has not ruptured.
The symptoms of a cerebral aneurysm
that has not ruptured include:
The first sign of a bleeding
cerebral aneurysm is most often bleeding around the brain. This is called a subarachnoid
hemorrhage (SAH). This may cause symptoms such as:
The symptoms of a cerebral aneurysm
may be like those of other health problems. See your healthcare provider for a
A cerebral aneurysm is often found
after it has ruptured. Or it's found by chance during an imaging test for other
Your healthcare provider will ask
about your health history. He or she will give you a physical exam. You may also need
tests such as:
The main goal is to decrease the
risk of bleeding in the brain.
Many factors are considered when
making treatment choices. These include:
In some cases, the aneurysm may
not be treated. You may instead be closely watched by a healthcare provider over time.
In other cases, surgery may be needed.
There are 2 main types of surgery
for a cerebral aneurysm. They are:
Controlling your risk factors may
lower your risk of having an aneurysm. These risk factors include:
These factors increase a person's
risk. But they don't necessarily cause the disease. Some people with one or more risk
factors never develop the disease. Others develop the disease and have no known risk
factors. Knowing your risk factors to any disease can help to guide you into helpful
actions. These include changing behaviors and being checked for the disease.
Any person having some or all of
these symptoms, regardless of age, should have immediate medical attention:
Ruptured brain aneurysms usually
result in a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). This is bleeding into the space around the
brain called the subarachnoid space. A SAH can be life-threatening.
Get medical attention right away if
you are having some or all of these symptoms:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare
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