About 15,000 people die each year in the U.S. from abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). This dangerous condition often goes unnoticed due to lack of symptoms, but the good news is a simple ultrasound screening can help detect AAAs before they become a serious threat. When AAAs are discovered early, your physician has time to take corrective action that could save your life.
AAAs occur when a major blood vessel called the aorta becomes abnormally enlarged due to the vessel’s walls weakening. Normally as thick as a garden hose, the aorta is a crucial artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart down the middle of your chest and abdomen where it eventually connects to the large vessels that supply blood to the legs. When an AAA occurs, a patient faces the risk of rupture, which can result in serious and potentially life-threatening bleeding.
According to Mayo Clinic, you are at greater risk of having an AAA if one or more of the following five risk factors are true of you:
• You use tobacco. The longer you’ve used tobacco, the more likely you are to come down with an AAA
• You are 65 or older. The risk of AAA goes up as you age.
• You are a man. Men develop AAA at a higher rate than women.
• You have a family history of AAA. If a father or brother has had an AAA, your risk of having one goes up as well.
• You have atherosclerosis. This disease happens in patients who have a buildup of plaque inside their arteries that can harden and narrow the arteries.
If you have any of the risk factors outlined above, we encourage you to talk to your doctor about getting a screening.
Via Radiology provides diagnostic imaging in Seattle and surrounding areas, providing services like ultrasound imaging, MRI scans, CT scans, x-rays and other imaging modalities. We also provide interventional services and screening services, including screenings for AAA. Contact us online for more information.