Ascending aortic aneurysm – Causes and symptoms

Aneurysm is a condition that forms a bulge in the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel in the heart. This blood vessel is responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood from the heart to various parts of the body. There are two types of aneurysms- abdominal aneurysm and thoracic aneurysm. If an aneurysm occurs in the ascending part of the aorta, which is closest to the heart, it is called the thoracic ascending aortic aneurysm.

Ascending aortic aneurysm affects thousands of people across our country and the condition can be life-threatening if not monitored timely.

Before we study how to diagnose thoracic aortic aneurysm symptoms, let us know its causes.

  • Atherosclerosis
    The condition occurs when plaque builds up in the walls of the aorta, causing it to bulge and become inflexible. This increases the risk of suffering from an aneurysm. This condition is caused due to cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Marfan syndrome
    This condition affects the connective tissues of the body which causes the weakness in the aortic wall.
  • Ehlers-Danlos
    Although a rare disorder, it causes skin, bones, connective tissues, organs and arteries to become collectively weak.
  • Aortic valve issues
    people born with abnormal aortic valves are more likely to develop thoracic aortic aneurysm symptoms. For instance, people born with bicuspid aortic valve instead of three experience more pressure and a bulge in the aorta, leading to an aneurysm.

Thoracic aortic aneurysm symptoms
The downside to this condition is that there are instances where thoracic aortic aneurysm does not cause any symptoms, especially in the early stages. It might not cause any symptoms until the bulge is small in size. However, as the size increases, thoracic aortic aneurysm might begin to show symptoms such as tenderness in the thoracic region, hoarseness, shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, and back pain.

Not everyone suffering from an aortic aneurysm might suffer from all the symptoms because it depends on the trigger and other underlying causes discussed above.

As the bulge caused due to the aneurysm becomes large, there is a high possibility that it might be ruptured. This requires immediate medical attention. Aortic aneurysm symptoms caused in this case include clamminess, difficulty breathing and swallowing, lightheadedness, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, loss of consciousness, intense and sudden pain in the chest and back, and paralysis on one side of the body.

Larger the aneurysm, serious will be the health implications. Larger aneurysms can cause aortic dissection. This life-threatening condition is characterized by tearing of the aortic layers. Thus, it is highly recommended to be aware of all the aortic aneurysm symptoms and seek immediate medical attention when diagnosed with same.

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