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aaa disease

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Your vascular health is our priority, and we look forward to providing you with the highest standard of care.  Dr. Luis Figueroa is a Vascular Surgeon with years of experience, who is qualified to perform any treatment and surgery.

Definition

The aorta is the largest vessel in our bodies, carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body. An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, also known as AAA or triple-A, is a weakened and enlarged aorta, which is at risk of rupture over time. This may cause bleeding and potentially lead to death.

Aneurysms often occur in the abdominal area but could be present in any artery. 

Symptoms

75% of cases of AAA disease don't cause any symptoms. However, abdominal aortic aneurysm symptoms may include:

* Pain in the abdominal area, chest and lower back
* Pulsing sensation in the abdomen
* A small percentage of patients have experienced pain, discoloured skin, and sores on feet and toes.​

 

In cases when the Aneurysm is small or not severe, it may be treated and monitored over some months.

 

On the contrary, if it's a large Aneurysm, it may require surgery. ​If an aneurysm ruptures, you may experience:

* Sudden pain in your abdomen or back
* Pain that spreads from the abdomen or back to your pelvis or legs
* Increase heart rate
* Shock or loss of consciousness​
If you experience any of the above, seek emergency help.

Causes

Risk Factors may include:

​* Age (over 50 years for men and over 60 years for women)
* Being male (more likely to develop AAA)
* Family history, anyone with a first-generation relative who has developed an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
* History of atherosclerosis
* High blood pressure
* Elevated cholesterol
* Heart or peripheral vascular disease
* Diabetes
* Tobacco use

Treatments

The treatment depends on the size of the AAA, we can differentiate between small and large aneurysms.

If the aneurysm is less than 5cm is considered a small AAA and has a low risk of rupturing: 

* Exercise, lifestyle changes and medication can help you.
* Have an ultrasound test every six or twelve months to monitor the growth.
* Stop smoking

If the aneurysm is more than 5 or 5.5cm is considered a large AAA.

* Open surgery: this requires the placement of a prosthetic graft
* Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR): it is a less invasive treatment.

How to Prevent

You can prevent AAA by maintaining a healthy lifestyle: 

* Avoid Smoking
* Keep your blood sugar levels under control
* Maintain a healthy blood pressure
* Lower your intake of saturated and trans fats
* Engage in regular physical activity 
* Maintain a Healthy Weight
* Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
* Regular check-ups
* Stay Hydrated
* Low levels of stress

image recreation of a normal aorta and an abdominal aortic aneurysm
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