Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
A brain aneurysm is a bulging area within the wall of an artery that supplies the brain. In most cases, brain aneurysms do not produce symptoms. In some cases, the aneurysm may cause symptoms by pushing on other areas of the brain. Depending on the size of the aneurysm and the area involved, these symptoms can include
When a brain aneurysm ruptures, there is bleeding within the brain. Symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm come on suddenly and include a severe, sudden headache that is different from other headaches an individual has experienced. Other symptoms of rupture are
- neck pain,
- sensitivity to light,
- dizziness, and
- loss of consciousness.
A brain aneurysm is also known as a cerebral aneurysm or a cerebral artery aneurysm.
Causes of brain aneurysms
Many different conditions can cause aneurysms. In some cases, no cause can be identified. Other cases are caused by high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, trauma, heredity, and abnormal blood flow. Less common causes include infections of the artery wall. Tumors can also cause aneurysms to form. Drug abuse, especially cocaine, can cause weakening and inflammation of artery walls, increasing the risk of aneurysm.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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