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Tens of thousands of deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2009, abdominal aortic aneurysms killed 10,597 people in the U.S., and were a contributing factor in the deaths of over 17,000 more. An abdominal aortic aneurysm screening is quick, safe, painless and reliable, using ultrasound to detect the condition. You will probably only need to do it once in your life.

First, you should know what an abdominal aortic aneurysm is. The aorta is the largest artery in the human body. It is about the size of a garden hose, and it carries blood from the heart to the abdomen. Sometimes, a weak spot forms in the wall of the lower aorta. Blood pressure causes the wall to swell outward, forming a bulge. This bulge is an abdominal aortic aneurysm. If detected early enough through screening, it can be treated by medication. Unfortunately, it often grows without causing symptoms.

If the patient is lucky, blood will begin to seep out of the bulge, causing intense, throbbing pain in the back or abdomen. This patient will send him or her (usually him — the condition primarily affects males) to the hospital, and there will still be time to repair the aneurysm through surgery. If the patient is not lucky, the aneurysm will explode without warning like a burst water balloon, and the patient will begin to bleed to death inside. The symptoms will be intense pain, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, clamminess, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. There may also be fainting and bruising along the sides. Even if the patient is rushed to a hospital and the doctors recognize the symptoms immediately, only half of those who suffer a burst anuerysm live longer than 30 days.

The people most likely to need an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening are men who have high blood pressure or have suffered an aortic infection. Risk is particularly high for current or former smokers, even those who smoked only for brief periods.

Getting screened or abdominal aortic aneurysm screening in Matthews, NC

In January of 2007, a federal law went into effect that made free one-time abdominal aortic aneurysm screenings available for any Medicare Part B enrollee who has a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm, or who is a man between the ages 65 and 75 who has smoked at least 100 cigarettes in his lifetime.

If you are outside this age range or are not enrolled in Medicare Part B, but you would like an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening, they are a part of the subscription medical practice at the Conner Family Health Clinic in Matthews, NC. Dr. Conner is on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Make an appointment today.

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