Published: 02/12/2016 - Updated: 05/20/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
A simple headache may indicate the presence of an aneurysm that affects your brain, which is why medical experts recommend that you be attentive and not wait until the last moment to go for a medical check-up. While an aneurysm cannot be prevented, if it can be detected on time with an examination to rule out possible symptoms, we should practice them even if we are at risk of suffering.
In Peru for example, the aneurysm affects 5% of the population and does not distinguish between ages, thus it can affect adults, young people, adolescents and even children.
What is an aneurysm?
Renowned neurosurgeon Alejandro Castillo, a specialist in minimally invasive surgery on the brain and spine, explains that the aneurysm is the dilation of an artery in the brain. This defect in the wall of the artery is a failure that occurs spontaneously or by disease. In that sense, it is understood that it may be present from birth; ie it is congenital, or it can be developed later on.
Groups at risk
There are illnesses that can cause the formation of an aneurysm such as the effects of smoking, hypertension, alcoholism or kidney problems. If you have had an aneurysm detected, in order to avoid further aggravation it is recommended not to exert yourself physically, but on the other hand not to fall into obesity or stress.
How does an aneurysm develop?
Aneurysms usually originate at the base of the skull, or those produced far from the the aforementioned area can be caused, though very rarely, by an infection or head trauma. The important thing to highlight and report is that on average, only one in four people who suffer from a rupture due to a brain aneurysm are able to receive treatment in time in order to regain their health.
A silent danger
It should be noted that the danger of having an aneurysm in the brain is that it can rupture at any time if not detected early and will likely cause the death of the person suffering it. Graphically, says expert Castillo, the aneurysm is formed as a full globule of blood that can burst at any time.
Does it present any symptoms?
In most cases, the aneurysm often has no symptoms, however it is possible that sometimes this brain condition can cause minor bleeding, which causes very painful headaches, so-called pain “thunder” or “sentinel“. The pain may be accompanied by poor vision, pain or stiffness in the neck and/or pain in the eye.
Importance of medical check-ups
As symptoms are not always experienced if one has an aneurysm, the neurosurgeon interviewed for this article emphasised that you must have preventive medical check-ups done when there is clinical suspicion. Some non-invasive tests include MRI or CT scans. Another evaluation is a pan angiography, performed with a catheter which is inserted into the brain to be able to inject a substance which contrasts with and clearly shows the characteristics of blood vessels.
A bump to the head
When asked if a bump to the head can cause an aneurysm, Doctor Castillo affirmed that thi
s is not a proven direct cause, but could contribute to the formation of one.
What to do if you have an Aneurysm detected
The first thing is not to be alarmed, as your doctor will tell you what is the best treatment for you. It could be an endovascular intervention or microsurgery, i.e. open surgery. The important thing is to attend all of your appointments and comply with the recommendations. After treatment, patients can continue with their normal lives, but are recommended to continue with regular routine check-ups.
Remember that your body requires specific nutrients for optimal health. In the case of the brain, studies recommend eating the following foods:
Fish: Fish is a rich source of choline and omega 3. The former strengthens memory and the latter helps raise IQ.
Oatmeal: This cereal is rich in proteins, amino acids, complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats, vitamins B1, B3, folic acid, potassium, phosphorus and other minerals. Specialists recommend eating oatmeal t
o improve memory.
Nuts: They contain high content of omega 3 and iron, including pecans, almonds, pistachios, etc.
Spinach: This plant is rich in folic acid, which is vital for the brain.
Legumes: These include lentils, beans, peas, lima beans, etc. They contain folic acid, fibre and protein.
Banana: Packed full of vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin C and other important minerals for the brain such as phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. Vitamin B6 besides participating in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter dopamine, also improves memory.
Green Tea: Besides being rich in antioxidants, its composition contains niacin, folic acid, fluoride, manganese, theobromine and flavonoids.
Broccoli: This vegetable is an excellent antioxidant rich in Vitamin C which contributes to a good memory.
Eggs: In addition to being recognized as the best source of protein, choline present in the yolk makes it suitable for good brain health.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 05/20/2018
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