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Third leading cause of death

Abdominal aortic aneurysms are the third leading cause of death in men over 60. Screening  for this disorder is fast, painless, reliable and will probably need to be done only once in your life — and doing so may save your life.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a problem that often grows in the body without symptoms or warning signs. It is a bulge in the lower aorta — the largest artery in the human body, roughly the size of a garden hose — formed by blood pressure acting on a weak spot in the wall of the aorta. Like the skin of a balloon, the wall grows thinner where it stretches. The thinner it grows, the more it can be deformed by blood pressure, and the more it bulges in a vicious circle. Sometimes the pressure of the swelling bulge causes pain in the abdomen or chest, but this is not always the case.

In some cases, blood will begin to seep out through tiny holes in the swollen area. The symptoms of this are intense pain and a sensation of throbbing in the back or abdomen. This is actually good news — the pain is enough to drive even the most stubborn patient to the hospital, and the aneurysm can still be repaired through surgery.

Warning signs

But too often, the aneurysm simply bursts without warning, causing major internal blood loss that will be fatal if not treated immediately. The symptoms of this are intense pain, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, clamminess, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. There may also be fainting, and possibly bruising along the sides. Even if these symptoms are instantly recognized and the patient is taken to a hospital right away, only half of those who suffer a burst aneurysm live longer than 30 days.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening is more likely in men who have smoked, or who have suffered infection in the aorta. High blood pressure is also a risk factor. Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms is a quick, safe and painless procedure involving the use of ultrasound. Small aneurysms can be treated through medication, but larger ones need surgery. If your doctor detects an aneurysm, he or she will be able to tell you which is the best option in your case.

Getting an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening in Matthews, NC

If you are a man age 65 to 75, it is a good idea to get at least one abdominal aortic aneurysm screening in your lifetime — particularly if you have ever smoked. The Conner Family Health Clinic in Matthews, NC is an excellent place to get a screening. Dr. Conner is on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and abdominal aortic aneurysm screening is part of his subscription medical practice. Make an appointment for a screening today, and you may save your life.

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