Aging & Health A to Z
Causes & Symptoms
Risk factors for aneurysms include:
- Age and gender – some aneurysms are more common in older men
- Family history – researchers are looking for genetic mutations that may contribute to the development of aneurysms
- Smoking – for both former and current smokers
- High blood pressure
- Atherosclerosis – buildup of fatty deposits, called plaque, inside the arteries
- Car accidents or chest trauma. Small aneurysms usually don’t cause any symptoms. However, as aneurysms get bigger and depending on their location, they can cause pain in the groin, lower back, lower abdomen, chest, or above or behind your eye.
- Prior aneurysms
Decreased risk of an abdominal aneurysm is associated with:
- Female gender
- Non-Caucasian race
Larger aneurysms can also lead to fainting spells, vision changes, a drooping eyelid, numbness or weakness on one side of your face or body, or symptoms of heart failure (shortness of breath, swelling).
These symptoms can signal that a rupture may occur—perhaps very soon. This is a medical emergency; you might need immediate surgery to repair the weakened blood vessel.
Call your doctor, or seek emergency treatment without delay if you experience any of these symptoms, especially if you have heart disease.
Updated: November 2016
Posted: March 2012