Health Matters: Understanding Brain Aneurysms

Currently, 18 million people in the US have a brain aneurysm.
Of the 18 million people who have a brain aneurysm, 30,000 people will experience a ruptured or leaking aneurysm.

There are many factors that can result in developing an aneurysm; some factors you can’t control and some you can.
While many people are able to live a normal life with an aneurysm, some aren’t so lucky and can end up with a ruptured or leaking aneurysm.
“It’s just the worst headache of your life that’s how every patient describes it the worst headache of your life,” says Interventional Neurology Nurse Practitioner, Jessica Sims. 
Exactly how it felt for Tim.
“It was the worst headache I ever had and the really strange part about it I instantly broke out in a sweat that soaked my shirt,” says Essentia Health Patient Tim Wolfe.
Since there are no signs or symptoms many go undiagnosed.
“They took me into the ER, they took me into the room where I had my wife and my belongings and told my wife that I had a brain aneurysm that was leaking,” says Wolfe.
Genetics play a large role in your chances of developing an aneurysm.

But there are also factors you can control.
“The two main risk factors that are modifiable as humans that we have control over as humans are hypertension and smoking,” says Sims.
About 10% of people who have a ruptured aneurysm won’t make it to a hospital in time.

For those that make it alive, about 30% have what doctors call a good outcome.

For Tim, he knows he’s one of the lucky ones and is thankful for his team at Essentia Health.
“I probably would have been life-flighted to Minneapolis and I don’t know if I would be here today,” says Wolfe.
 It’s recommended to get a screening if you have two first degree relatives who have also had an aneurysm.

In that case, your risk is close to 10% higher than the average person.

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