(Louisville, KY) – Ninety-five percent of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) can be successfully treated if detected early.
“There is a safe, painless, ultrasound test that can accurately measure the size of the aneurysm to determine the need for treatment,” said Dr. Bradley Thomas of Surgical Care Associates. “In most situations, people with ruptured aortic aneurysms die before they reach the hospital.”
AAA occurs when the wall of the aorta – the body’s largest artery – progressively weakens and begins to bulge. If left untreated, an AAA may continue to enlarge and eventually rupture causing internal bleeding and possibly death.
Although AAAs have few symptoms, some patients report:
• A pulsing feeling in the abdomen
• Unexplained, severe pain in the abdomen or lower back
• Pain, discoloration, or sores on feet (this is a rare symptom)
“Maintaining good vascular health is a matter of life and limb,” said Dr. Thomas. Talk to your doctor about being tested for AAA if you have the following risk factors:
• Are more than 60 years of age especially men
• Have a history of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
• Have a family history of AAA
• Were or are still a cigarette smoker
• Have high blood pressure
• Have chronic lung disease.
The Welcome to Medicare physical offers a free one-time AAA screening for qualified seniors. Men who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes during their life, and men and women with family histories of AAA qualify for the Medicare screening.
Vascular surgeons are experts in all vascular treatments including medical management and noninvasive procedures. Contact Surgical Care Associates of visit VascularWeb.org to learn more about AAA and other vascular diseases.