Aneurysms explained: Symptoms, risks and treatments

Archive, Feel Good, January, Month, Topics

“Truly a medical emergency,” it’s vital to pay attention to risk factors.

“Unfortunately, many patients don’t experience the symptoms of an aneurysm until it ruptures.”

Dr. Aniel Majjhoo, an interventional neurologist at McLaren Macomb, describes one of those symptoms as a sudden and severe headache: “The worst headache of your life.”

Aneurysms are a thinning or weakening of the arterial wall, creating a balloon-like bulge in the brain. Blood flow aids in the growth of aneurysms, and, in many cases, the growth continues while the person remains unaware, experiencing no symptoms.

This, he says, makes paying close attention to aneurysm risk factors vital, especially when also experiencing the seemingly unrelated symptoms of un-ruptured aneurysms.

Risk factors

  • Older age
  • Cigarette smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Drug abuse (especially cocaine)
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Family history

Un-ruptured aneurysm symptoms

  • Pain above/behind one eye
  • Dilated pupil
  • Change in vision/double vision
  • Numbness on one side of the face

If one is discovered, minimally invasive procedures exist to naturally shrink an aneurysm. McLaren Macomb interventional neurologists are proficient in these procedures (which include the Pipeline Flex and WEB embolization devices) and were the first to introduce them to the county.

Common symptoms of ruptured aneurysms

  • Sudden, severe headache described as "worst headache ever"
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Blurred, double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seizure
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion

(A "leaking" aneurysm is often followed by rupture, symptomized by a sudden, severe headache)

"This is truly a medical emergency and should you or anyone around you begin to experience these symptoms, dial 9-1-1 immediately," Dr. Majjhoo said.


Talk to your doctor

Think you’re living with some aneurysm risk factors? Talk about it with a McLaren Macomb primary care physician.

Click here

Neurology at McLaren Macomb

Learn more about neurological care at McLaren Macomb.

Click here