Symptoms of Brain Aneurysms
Silent Until Catastrophe Strikes
A brain aneurysm is a weakness in brain blood vessel that causes the vessel to balloon out. As the aneurysm grows, the blood vessel becomes weaker and it begins to press on surrounding areas of brain. Most often the brain just moves aside and continues to function normally. If the growing blood vessel does interfere with surrounding brain, certain conditions can develop. The symptoms of brain aneurysms include problems with peripheral vision, perceptual problems, and problems with memory. Symptoms of brain aneurysms also include more pronounced changes such as a loss of coordination or balance behavioral changes and difficulty with short term memory, as well as sudden changes in behavior and complications with speech.
If the symptoms of brain aneurysms occur before rupture, a normal head CT scan may not show it. Typically there are only a handful of ways that brain aneurysms can be diagnosed and none are the usual first step in diagnosis. Most physicians will order a head CT first to see if there is a tumor causing the problem or if bleeding is occurring inside the brain. Head CT scans are fast, relatively cheap and give good results for most things. Unfortunately, brain aneurysms do not show up on a normal head CT unless contrast is administered. A special CT scan called a CTA might be used to see blood vessels but it requires administration of large amounts of dye. If a patient does not have good kidney function, this may not be an option. In some cases a special MRI needs to be performed in order to see brain aneurysms. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and it utilizes a powerful magnet to examine the structures inside the head. An MRA or Magnetic Resonance Angiogram is a special MRI that allows doctors to see brain blood vessels. Finally there is cerebral angiogram which involves injecting a small amount of dye into the blood stream and then taking special X-rays of the brain to see the dye within the blood vessels. This is similar to angiograms that are routinely done for the blood vessels of the heart.
Wosrt Headache Of Your Life
Sadly, most people do not know that they have an aneurysm until it bursts. The classic symptom of brain aneurysms is the so-called "worst headache of your life." A ruptured brain aneurysm causes the lightning fast onset of an excruciating headache. Once the brain blood vessel ruptures, other symptoms of brain aneurysms may occur including nausea and vomiting, neck pain, blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light and dilation of one or both pupils. A ruptured brain aneurysm can also cause symptoms of stroke depending on where in the brain the bleeding occurs. Stroke symptoms are weakness and numbness, usually only on one side of the body. What makes the symptoms of brain aneurysms different than other neurological symptoms is that they come on extremely rapidly, like a clap of lightning or flipping a switch. If you experience rapid onset of these symptoms do not delay! Consult emergency personnel immediately. If you think you may be experiencing the symptoms of brain aneurysms that occur before brain rupture, you should describe these symptoms to your doctor and seek answers before tragedy strikes.
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