Neuroscience Center

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Aneurysm Risk Factors

What are the Causes of an Aneurysm?

The arteries that connect at the base of the brain sometimes develop weak spots in the artery walls. The weak spots can enlarge and fill with blood (pouches that become aneurysms) due to increased pressure in the veins' blood flow. The weak spots can be caused by:

  • Birth defects in the artery wall
  • High blood pressure
  • Arteriosclerosis (substances such as cholesterol or blood platelets collect on the artery wall)

What People are at Risk for Aneurysms?

Many factors can increase your risk for developing an aneurysm. They include:

What Increases the Risk of an Aneurysm Rupture?

A physician specializing in brain aneurysms can assess your risk for a rupture. Common risk factors of aneurysm rupture include:

  • Large aneurysm size
  • Irregular aneurysm appearance
  • History of aneurysm rupture
  • Active tobacco smoking
  • Uncontrolled blood pressure
  • Use of stimulant drugs
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Family history of brain aneurysms

Treating Hemorrhagic Stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke, or what is also called a ruptured brain aneurysm, can strike without warning.  Neurosurgeon Greg Zipfel, MD, and neuroradiologist Christopher Moran, MD, talk about treatment in this episode of "Real Science, Real Innovation."


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