Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues

Aneurysms: What are they?

Risk Factors

This page will raise awareness about the threat of Aneurysms. Why and how they occur and what one can do to possibly detect and/or treat them. .


Aneurysm: noun:

Etymology: Greek aneursma , from aneurynein to dilate, from ana+euryneim to stretch, from eurys wide: an abnormal blood filled dilation of a blood vessel and especially an artery resulting from disease of the vessel wall.

anatomical drawing of an aneurysm

Basically aneurysms occur when the arteries are swelled or "balloon" up to the point of rupture. There are primarily two types of Aneurysms; Cerebral and Aortic, which affect brain and heart arteries. Thoracic and Abdominal are primary cardio aneurysms. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA)is the 13th leading cause of death per year in the U.S., that is roughly 15,000 people each year. AAA, thoracic aneurysms, and cerebral aneurysms are all still relatively complex disease currently being studied. It is known as the "silent killer" because of its sudden occurrence and low mortality rate.


It is not really clear what causes Aneurysms. Long time smoking and high blood pressure have been mentioned as possible causes that lead to the condition. However, proper diet, low cholesterol, and exercise possible detractions from the condition and its complications.

Risk Factors:

Aneurysms generally affect people over the age of 65. More than 75% of people with AAA, for example, are older than the age of 60. With regard to race, white males have the highest incidence of AAA. Men are affected 7 times more often than females. People who smoke, and have heart complications such as high blood pressure, have been linked to the condition. It is not known whether it is hereditary or not, but some say it is congenital or acquired.


Since there is not much known about the disease, prevention is consequently unknown as well. The only treatment for Aneurysms is surgery. If the detection through cat scans, x-rays, and other sources is done, and if it is detected in time, surgery has a pretty successful outcome. If it is not, and the aneurysm ruptures, the mortality rate does not look good. In fact 65% of patients with a ruptured AAA die from sudden cardiovascular collapse before arriving at a hospital. The best thing to do is get check ups regularly.


Additional Information and a support page can be found on the following link: Share Aneurysm Experiences


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Accessibility | Privacy | ASU Disclaimer This site was created by Joseph Vigil in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2005.