September is National Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month

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Reduce your risk for an aneurysm with these helpful tips

Brain aneurysms can occur in anyone, at any age. An estimated 6 million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm. Each year, about 30,000 people in the U.S. will suffer from a ruptured brain aneurysm. About 40% of those experiencing a ruptured brain aneurysm will die.

To raise awareness of the dangers and increase public awareness and understanding of brain aneurysms, including methods of early detection and treatment, September has been identified as National Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month. Understanding that early detection can make a significance difference in the outcome, The Brain Aneurysm Foundation is working to help educate the general public and the medical community on how to recognize the symptoms of a brain aneurysm.

If the brain aneurysm is diagnosed early with proper screening, it can be treated before it ruptures, saving lives. Dr. Christopher Ogilvy, cofounder of The Brain Aneurysm Foundation and Director of Endovascular and Operative Neurovascular Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital gives the following tips on ways to reduce your risk for a brain aneurysm and what warning signs and symptoms to look for:

  • Understand risk factors

Researchers and doctors have identified several risk factors which they believe contribute to the formation of a brain aneurysm including: family history of brain aneurysms, smoking, high blood pressure or hypertension, drug use, infection, tumors, traumatic head injury, age (over 40), gender (women have an increased ratio over men 3:2), presence of an arteriovenous malformation or other inherited disorders like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, kidney disease and Marfan syndrome.

  • Learn about early detection and screening methods

Brain aneurysms can be similar to heart attacks. Just like a person may have no warning of an impending heart attack, there almost is never a warning that a brain aneurysm is about to rupture. Fortunately, through imaging screening techniques, individuals at high risk of harboring a brain aneurysm can be identified easily with non-invasive imaging tests.

  • Know what warning signs and symptoms to look for

Small unruptured brain aneurysms are typically not associated with any symptoms – however, large unruptured aneurysm can occasionally press on the brain or nerves and may result in various neurological symptoms including: localized headache, dilated pupils, blurred or double vision, pain above and behind the eye, weakness and numbness or difficulty speaking.
Ruptured brain aneurysms usually result in bleeding in the brain which causes sudden symptoms including: sudden severe headache, loss of consciousness, nausea/vomiting, stiff neck, sudden blurred or double vision, sudden pain above the eye/difficulty seeing, sudden trouble walking or dizziness, sudden change in mental status/awareness, sensitive to light, seizure or drooping eyelid.

•Seek medical attention
Any individual experiencing some or all of these symptoms, regardless of age, should undergo immediate and careful evaluation by a physician.

The Brain Aneurysm Foundation is the nation’s only non-profit organization solely dedicated to providing critical awareness, education, support and research funding to reduce the incidence of brain aneurysm ruptures. The Brain Aneurysm Foundation hopes to improve these tragic statistics and save lives by funding vital research and increasing awareness.

The Brain Aneurysm Foundation offers many resources to promote early diagnosis of brain aneurysms including an educational video entitled Early Detection of Brain Aneurysms: Life vs. Death. This 20-minute video is designed to educate primary care physicians, emergency room physicians and first responders on the early detection of brain aneurysms.

A number of events are planned throughout the United States during September which are designed to raise awareness of brain aneurysms. For more information on local events and informational materials on awareness efforts, please visit http://www.bafound.org.

About the Brain Aneurysm Foundation
The Brain Aneurysm Foundation was established in Boston on August 19, 1994, as a public charity. The Brain Aneurysm Foundation is the nation’s only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to providing critical awareness, education, support and research funding to reduce the incidence of brain aneurysms. The Brain Aneurysm Foundation has become the world’s leading source of private funding of brain aneurysm research.

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ERIN CALLANAN

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