What is a Brain Aneurysm?
A brain aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in the wall of a brain artery. If this bulge tears and bleeds, nearby cells may be damaged. A brain aneurysm can occur in an artery wall that is weak or has a defect. An aneurysm is often associated with the hardening of arteries. High blood pressure, heredity or a head injury are also risk factors.
In most cases, a brain aneurysm has no symptoms until it bleeds or tears.
Symptoms of bleeding or tearing include:
- Severe headache, nausea and vomiting
- Neck stiffness
- Brief blackout
- Confusion or sluggishness
- Vision or speech problems
- Paralysis or weakness on one side of the body
- Jerking movements
A brain aneurysm needs to be treated as soon as possible. Doing so may save a patient's life. If the aneurysm has torn and bled, treatment may not reverse the resulting damage. However, surgery may help prevent more bleeding. Blood trapped in and around the brain may also be removed.