Brain Aneurysms: Symptoms, Causes and Complications

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 18th Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Diseases & Infections

The following article will explore the symptoms causes, and complications of having a brain aneurysms. A second article will follow explaining diagnosis and treatment.

Brain Aneurysm

The Montreal Neurological Institute is a world renown research center and hospital specializing in the diseases of the brain.

One of the scariest conditions to think about is having a brain aneurysm. Many Montrealers automatically think death when they think aneurysm, but how many people actually know what a brain aneurysm is?

What many Montrealers do not know is that there are different types of aneurysms; but today we will be talking about a brain aneurysm.

Brain aneurysm

An aneurysm is a balloon or bubble in the blood vessels in the brain. The Mayo Clinic says it looks like a berry which is hanging from the stem.

If the aneurysm leaks or ruptures it will cause a hemorrhagic stroke. A subarachnoid hemorrhage is an aneurysm which has ruptured and leaked into the space between the brain and its thin tissue lining. If an aneurysm ruptures it can be fatal.

The good news is that most of these aneurysms do not rupture and cause dangerous health risks, many are detected long before that happens. Some do not even present any symptoms and are detected when looking for other medical conditions. aneurysms which have not yet ruptured can be treated.

Symptoms of a brain aneurysm

Ruptured aneurysm

The worst headache you can possible imagine along with such symptoms as:

nausea and vomiting
drooping eyelid
sensitivity to light
blurred or double vision
stiff neck

loss of consciousness

Leaking aneurysm

Sometimes the brain aneurysm will just leak, it usually causes a sudden or severe headache. Eventually this type of brain aneurysm may rupture as well.

Unruptured aneurysm

Usually an unruptured aneurysm is asymptomatic especially if it small. However, larger aneurysms of this kind may cause:

a drooping eyelid
pain just above the eye or behind the eye
dilated pupil
change in vision or double vision
paralysis, numbness, or weakness on one side of the face

You should see a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms especially since a ruptured aneurysm causes death in 50 percent of known cases if not treated immediately. This is not a make an appointment type of doctor care; 911 emergency care is crucial.

Causes for a brain aneurysm

The causes for brain aneurysms

Brain aneurysms usually develop
because the arteries degenerate and thin out. The aneurysms can develop anywhere in the brain but tend to form in the arteries at the base of the brain. The location of the aneurysms in the arteries themselves, usually are located at the branches also known as forks, because this area of the artery is the thinnest.

Again, it cannot be stressed enough, if you or Montrealer you know is experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Do not put it off thinking it is just a headache that will go away.

Brain aneurysm Risk Factors and Complications

Brain aneurysms are bubbles, in the arteries that can cause death. An aneurysm is a result of the weakening or thinning of the artery wall. It is very important to know the risk factors and prevent brain aneurysms from occurring in the first place.

The risk factors associated with brain aneurysms

The known factors which can cause the wall of the blood artery to thin are:

arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
hypertension (high blood pressure)
advanced age
close family history of brain aneurysms such as a parent or sibling who has suffered from an brain aneurysm.
head injury
drug or alcohol abuse
some kinds of blood infections
post menopausal decline in estrogen levels.
Certain genetic disorders that are risk factors for a brain aneurysm
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and some other connected tissue disorder.
Polycystic kidney disease, which are an accumulation of fluid-filled sacs in the kidneys that causes high blood pressure.
Coarctation of the aorta
The aorta is the blood vessel responsible for carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
CerebCerebral arteriovenous malformation (brain AVMral arteriovenous malformation (brain AVM)
Cerebral arteriovenous malformation (brain AVM), is a faulty connection between arteries and veins in the heart that will disrupt the normal flow of blood within this intricate system.

Brain aneurysm complications

If the brain aneurysm ruptures, blood will leak out into the surrounding area. This leakage will cause elevated blood pressure and blood will leak into the surrounding cells of the brain. This blood will either damage or kill the cells.

If blood pressure in the brain is too high it can cause a disruption of the normal blood and oxygen supply and thus produce a state of unconsciousness or death.

If a person survives a ruptured aneurysm without treatment there is always the chance that re-bleeding can occur with the result of even further damage to the brain cells.


The ruptured aneurysm may cause vasospasms, which means that the blood vessels will erratically widen and narrow. Vasospasms can damage the cells and restrict blood flow which results in an ischemic stroke.


The result of the blood from a ruptured aneurysm seeping into the tissue lining the brain causes a subarachnoid hemorrhage. This subarachnoid hemorrhage can further damage the brain as well as the spinal cord. Hydrocephalus is the excessive fluid in the spinal chord. This excessive fluid can cause increased blood pressure and severe tissue damage.


Hyponatremia is a condition where the sodium levels in the brain is lower than it should be. This condition is caused by a subarachnoid hemorrhage, from a ruptured aneurysm, that has damaged the hypothalamus located at the brain’s base. Sodium is very important to the normal functioning of cells in the brain. When hyponatremia occurs, the brain cells swell and there will be permanent damage. Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte disorder.

The next article will focus on the diagnosis of a brain aneurysm.

All photos taken from the public domain

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Brain Aneurysms Aneurysm, Causes For Brain Aneurysms, Diseases Of The Brain, Headache, Hemorrhagic Stroke, Hydrocephalus, Hyponatremia, Leaking Aneurysm, Ruptured Aneurysm, Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, The Brain, Unruptured Aneurysm, Vasospasms

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar brendamarie
19th Jul 2015 (#)

great article Carol. You gave me a much better understand of what caused my father's death.

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