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A severe headache with or without stroke symptoms could be a sign of a brain aneurysm: Doctors

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After much speculation about Chinese Xi Jinping’s health, it emerged that he suffered from a brain aneurysm and was hospitalized last year. According to media reports, Jinping preferred traditional Chinese medicines to surgery as the mode of treatment. In March 2019, Jinping’s gait had an unusual limp which was noticed during his visit to Italy.

According to a report by ANI news agency, during a speech to the public in Shenzhen in October 2020, his late appearance, slow speech and coughing fit again led to speculation about his poor health. The Chinese president’s health report comes at a time when the country is reeling from rising oil and gas prices and the impact of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

What is a cerebral aneurysm?

A cerebral aneurysm, also known as an intracranial aneurysm, is a bulge in a blood vessel in the brain. This dilation can thin and burst like a blister without any warning.

“If the brain aneurysm expands and the blood vessel wall becomes too thin, the aneurysm will rupture and bleed into the space around the brain. This event is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and can cause a hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke,” Dr. PN Renjen, stroke and neurology consultant, senior consultant neurologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, told Financial Express.com.

If ruptured, a brain aneurysm can quickly become life-threatening and requires prompt medical treatment.

How is a brain aneurysm diagnosed?

Dr. Renjen revealed that there are several tests available to diagnose brain aneurysms. “Tests like computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cerebral angiography, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis can help identify the aneurysm and reveal its size, location and can also tell if it’s broken or not,” he said. .

Can a patient survive a brain aneurysm?

Dr Dinesh Chaudhari. Clinical Associate (Neurology), Stroke Fellow, Department of Neurology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital told Financial Express.com that a patient with a brain aneurysm may survive.

“You can live with an aortic aneurysm, and there are many ways to avoid dissection or worse, rupture. New treatment options mean that aneurysms are no longer an automatic death sentence,” said Dr Chaudhari.

What is the cause of a brain aneurysm?

According to doctors, brain aneurysms form when the walls of the arteries in the brain thin and weaken. “Aneurysms usually form at the branching points of arteries because these sections are the weakest. Sometimes brain aneurysms can be present from birth, usually resulting from an abnormality in the arterial wall,” Dr. Renjen told Financial Express.com.

Dr. Renjen advised that sometimes brain aneurysms are the result of hereditary risk factors. It can also form due to other risk factors that develop over time, such as untreated high blood pressure, smoking, drug abuse. It should be noted that intravenous drug abuse is a cause of infectious mycotic aneurysms.

“There are some less common risk factors like head trauma, brain tumors, or infections of the arterial wall (mycotic aneurysm),” he added.

“High blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol put you at risk for atherosclerosis (a disease of the blood vessels in which fat builds up inside the walls of the arteries), which can increase the risk of developing a fusiform aneurysm,” said Dr. Chaudhri.

What is the statistic of its presence in India?

In India, around 76,500 to 204,100 new cases of brain aneurysms are reported every year. According to a report by Neurology India, it is still unclear how many of these patients with brain aneurysms are receiving proper treatment.

“Because intracranial aneurysms are most common between the ages of 35 and 60, and about 40% of ruptures are fatal, a large number of disability-adjusted life years are lost. Added to this is the fact that about 62% of India’s population is under the age of 60,” the study states.

What are the symptoms of brain aneurysms?

According to doctors and health experts, the majority of patients with brain aneurysms do not show any symptoms. However, certain symptoms do occasionally occur, such as headaches (rare, if not severed), eye pain, vision changes, and decreased eye movement. When a person is diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, they may experience stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, dilated pupils, loss of consciousness, loss of balance or coordination, sensitivity to light and back or leg pain.

“A sudden, severe headache with or without stroke symptoms could be a sign of a brain aneurysm. A ruptured brain aneurysm is a serious, life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention and emergency treatment. If you have an unruptured brain aneurysm, talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of different treatment and management options,” Dr. Chaudhri added.

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