Aging & Health A to Z
Basic Facts & Information
Fill a balloon too full and it will eventually explode—that’s the extreme picture of what can happen when you have an aneurysm. Medically, when an artery “balloons,” or widens, it weakens the artery wall, which can ultimately lead to a tear, or rupture. A ruptured aneurysm can cause severe bleeding (hemorrhage), stroke, or death.
Aneurysms usually develop within the aorta, the major artery that leads from your heart and runs through your chest (thoracic aortic aneurysm) and abdomen (abdominal aortic aneurysm). Aneurysms can also occur in the brain (cerebral aneurysm), or in the carotid arteries in the neck, in the groin, or the back of the legs (peripheral aneurysms).
Updated: March 2012
Posted: March 2012