Aneurysms are a weak and abnormal spot on a blood vessel in the brain that can cause bulging. They are usually a starting point for blood clots and embolization that can have a fatal outcome. Even when not deadly, aneurysms can leave a person severely disabled, which is why it’s important to recognize the early signs on time and prevent the problem before it gets serious.
The thing about aneurysms is that we often ignore the signs before it’s too late. One of the earliest signs of this possibly fatal condition are migraines. Although not automatically pointing to an aneurysm, headaches and migraines can be a sign of it.
Lee Broadway’s Story
Lee Broadway is a mother of four children who has been living with migraines since she was a child. Lee died recently from a brain aneurysm only two hours after doctors were sure there was nothing wrong with her. One night, Lee was having a splitting migraine and asked her husband Eric to take her to a hospital. The doctors checked on her, but couldn’t find anything wrong.
Only two hours later, she died on a surgery table during an aneurysm procedure. Lee lost too much blood during the surgery and died from complications just 5 days before her birthday. It’s another reminder that migraines are not too be taken lightly – if you’re suffering from them frequently, it’s best to get regular checkups to ensure there’s nothing wrong.
After Lee Broadway passed away, Dr. Howard A. Riina from the Langone Medical Center heard about her story and shared his opinion. Dr. Riina likens the pain caused by an aneurysm to that of a migraine. He says that they’re almost identical – during his career, many patients came reporting symptoms such as a migraine that feels like they’ve been hit by lightning. Sometimes, migraine sufferers experience visual disturbances, so they isolate themselves in quiet and dark places in order to subdue the symptoms. However, if that doesn’t help as well, it might be an aneurysm causing the problem, not a migraine.
The Main Symptoms of a Brain Aneurysm
The most common symptoms of aneurysms are a sudden and sharp headache, nausea, confusion, seeing double, and numbness which usually affects the left side of the face. Other symptoms can include drooping eyelids, vomiting, dilated pupils, pain above one eye only, and sensitivity to light.
Facts About Aneurysm You Surely Didn’t Know
They Are Pretty Rare
The good thing about aneurysms is that they’re rare. There are between 30,000 and 50,000 reported cases per year, with only a small group of patients dying from a ruptured aneurysm.
Unruptured Aneurysms Don’t Manifest Through Specific Symptoms
About 1-2% of reported aneurysm cases end with a ruptured blood vessel. In most cases, the person experienced no symptoms at all.
They Affect Millions of People Each Year
According to Dr. Riina, up to 10% of the world’s population is living with unruptured aneurysms. That’s roughly around 700 million people!
They are Triggered by Certain Habits and Conditions
Conditions such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and polycystic kidney disease are listed as some of the key factors that increase the risk of brain aneurysms. Habits such as smoking, drinking too much, and a diet rich in fat may also raise the risk of aneurysms.
Family History is a Major Indicator
Dr. Riina says that if you have someone from your family with a brain aneurysm, you must tell your doctor. Family history is a key indicator for brain aneurysms and can save your life if you mention it to your doctor.