One of the reasons why aneurysms are so dangerous is because the symptoms of aortic aneurysm are often very subtle or non-existent. While some may experience no symptoms of aortic aneurysm, it is important for those who do to recognize what is taking place. Their lives depend on it.
An aortic aneurysm is a bulge in the the aorta, the body’s primary artery, that is caused by a weak spot in the wall. Two main types of aortic aneurysms exist. The first is known as abdominal aortic aneurysm and is typically located in the body’s midsection, near the general area of the stomach. The other type is known as a thoracic aortic aneurysm, and is generally located in the chest area of the body. The ascending aneurysm and descending aneurysm are both thoracic aneurysms. Aneurysms can appear elsewhere in the body, but are more common in these two areas.
Symptoms of aortic aneurysm in the abdomen include pain in the chest, possibly leading around to the back. This pain may spread to lower regions of the body, even spreading to the groin and legs over time. Some may experience the sensation of a pulse, especially around the navel. A cold foot, black or blue toe and even fever and weight loss are other symptoms of aortic aneurysm, especially if these conditions last weeks or months.
In a thoracic aortic aneurysm, the symptoms can be somewhat different, and, as with abdominal aortic aneurysms, may not appear at all. In this case, pain may be felt in the back or chest again. Patients may develop a cough and find it hard to breathe deeply. Some individuals may find it difficult or painful to swallow. If this happens, and the symptoms persist for an extended period of time, the individual should contact a health professional.
If a rupture occurs, the symptoms of aortic aneurysm become much more noticeable and the victim should be taken to a hospital immediately. The person may experience pain that comes on suddenly or that is very severe. He or she will also have a dramatic drop in blood pressure and will likely show signs of shock, such as having cold sweats or extreme thirst, if still conscious. An untreated ruptured aneurysm will result in death, typically in minutes or hours of the rupture taking place. Approximately 50 percent of those suffering from ruptured aneurysms die before they ever reach the hospital, and many more die after reaching the hospital.