An aneurysm is a thin or weak spot in a blood vessel that begins to fill up with blood. When that happens in the brain, the consequences are often a leaking or burst vessel that can cause a hemorrhage as it spills blood into the surrounding tissues. There are many aneurysms that are very small and don’t cause any problems. Some of these small ones don’t even bleed. The danger, however, is that they may occur anywhere within the brain.
Statistics on Ruptured Brain Aneurysms
1. The number of people in the United States every year who are diagnosed with a ruptured brain aneurysm: 30,000.
2. It is most commonly found in people between the ages of 30 to 60.
3. Researchers estimate that about 6 million people in United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm.
4. Up to 15% of those with an unruptured brain aneurysm will have more than one present.
5. Someone with an unruptured brain aneurysm has about a 1% chance of the aneurysm rupturing per year.
6. The survival rate for those with a ruptured brain aneurysm is about 60%.
7. Two-thirds of those who survive a ruptured brain aneurysm will have some sort of permanent neurological defect.
8. About 15% of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage will not make it to the hospital after experiencing the symptoms.
9. 90% of subarachnoid hemorrhages are attributed to ruptured cerebral aneurysms.
10. Being diagnosed with a small aneurysm of 5mm or less means an up to 80% chance of it never rupturing over the course of a lifetime.
11. Ruptured brain aneurysms account for up to 5% of all new strokes.
12. About 1% of the people who make it to the emergency room for a headache are diagnosed with a ruptured brain aneurysm.
13. Severe headaches account for up to 2% of emergency room visits and up to 4% of visits to the primary care offices.
14. Misdiagnosis or delays in diagnosis occurs in up to 1 out of every 4 of the patients with a subarachnoid hemorrhage that arrive in the hospital.
15. 73% of those who don’t receive an accurate diagnosis of their brain aneurysm will not be sent for a scan of their brain.
16. The combined lost wages of survivors of brain aneurysm rupture and their caretakers for a year was $138 million.
17. Incident rates around the world vary greatly, ranging from as low as 5.1 cases per 100,000 persons to as high as 19.6 cases per 100,000 persons, based on age-adjusted incidence studies.
18. A re-hemorrhage occurs in about 20% of cases within the first 2 weeks after the initial rupture.
19. Aneurysms are about three times more prevalent in women.
20. The presence of multiple aneurysms or a family history of aneurysms increases the risk of a rupture.
21. 3% of those with a brain aneurysm may experience bleeding without a rupture.
Where Does it Occur?
Although they may occur anywhere, the most common place for a brain aneurysm is at the arterial loop that runs between the skull and the underside of the brain. Brain aneurysms can also be a congenital defect as an abnormality in an artery wall can create the conditions for thin spots along the arteries. Malformations, certain tissue disorders, and genetic disease can all help to increase the risks of an aneurysm occurring as well.
What some people may not know is that a brain aneurysm can also be caused by a concussion. An injury to the head, some sort of trauma, or even an infection of the arterial wall can all create the conditions for an aneurysm to occur. So can high blood pressure or atherosclerosis, which occurs when fats begin to build up on the inside of artery walls. When they do occur, they are classified by the size of the aneurysm, with those larger than 25mm being classified as “giant.”
Any brain aneurysm has the potential of rupturing to cause bleeding in the brain. Anyone can have a brain aneurysm as well, although the above listed risk factors increase that chance. Smoking and the use of stimulants can all contribute to an added risk of a brain aneurysm as well. By knowing these statistics, you’ll be able to know if you or a loved one may need to make some lifestyle changes to reduce your risks of this health emergency.
How It Develops
Most people aren’t born with a brain aneurysm. It is something that develops over time and most will present themselves after the age of 40. A typical brain aneurysm will develop at a branching point of the arteries in the brain because of the constant blood pressure in that area.
The most common question people have is this: can a brain aneurysm be prevented? And if one is already present, can steps be taken to prevent a rupture from occurring? A healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to prevent an aneurysm from forming. Avoid smoking, excessive stimulant consumption, and other items that will regularly increase your blood pressure.
If you already have a diagnosed aneurysm, then avoiding high pressure situations that could raise internal blood pressure should be avoided. Heavy lifting or straining often causes the pressure in the brain to rise and this can cause a rupture. So can difficult, stressful emotions. Those with an aneurysm will also want to avoid using blood thinners, certain medications, and over the counter items that contain stimulants.
Why is a ruptured aneurysm such an emergency? Once blood hits live brain tissues, it begins to kill them. As a result, brain functioning is lost. Even with treatment, the damage from an aneurysm cannot be reversed by medical science. Rehabilitation therapy is often the best solution.
That’s why preventing an aneurysm before one occurs is the best solution possible. Every treatment plan for an aneurysm is different. If you have severe headaches that last for more than a few hours, a headache you’d describe as the worst you’ve ever had, then seek medical help immediately. It’s a choice that could save your life.