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Aneurysms

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Blood vessel walls may become weakened and begin to form a swelling or bulge, know as an aneurysm.

Symptoms
Aneurysms less commonly cause symptoms, unless they rupture and give rise to a haemorrhage. However, symptoms may include blurred vision, pain behind the eye, slurred speech, short-term memory problems, problems with balance, headaches, and numbness on one side of the face.

Causes
Aneurysms form when the walls of blood vessels become particularly weakened. This is associated with risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, excessive alcohol intake, weakening of the blood vessel walls with age, a family history of aneurysms, Marfan syndrome, and cocaine abuse, amongst others.

Treatment
Treatments often focus on preventing the bursting of aneurysms, which can cause severe damage or fatality. Surgery can be carried out in order to prevent rupture, but only if there is a high risk of this occurring. Risk is determined by assessment of the patient’s age, the size and location of the aneurysm, and any pre-existing health conditions. Low risk individuals will receive regular check-ups and should carry out lifestyle changes to decrease any risk of rupture. High-risk patients may receive surgery to prevent rupture, such as neurological clipping or endovascular coiling.