Risk Factors for Brain Aneurysm
Neuroscience Institute Swedish Cerebrovascular Center
Anyone can develop a brain aneurysm at any time. About one in 40 people will develop a brain aneurysm, usually between the ages of 40 and 60.
Aneurysm risk factors you cannot control
Sometimes a brain aneurysm is caused by conditions that you cannot control, such as:
- Family history: If two or more close relatives (parents, brothers or sisters, or children) have aneurysms, you may be at risk for a “familial aneurysm.” This type of aneurysm tends to rupture while it is still small
- Birth defect: You may have been born with a defect in one of your blood vessels that allows an aneurysm to develop
- Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop a brain aneurysm
- Race: African Americans are more susceptible to brain aneurysm
- Disease, infection, circulatory disorder: Some genetic diseases, and some types of infections and circulatory disorders may cause a brain aneurysm. Aneurysms that occur after an infection in the heart or blood vessels are called mycotic aneurysms
- Trauma: An accident with trauma to the head may cause a traumatic aneurysm, a rare type of aneurysm in an artery in the brain
If you have any of these risk factors, you should talk with your doctor about your family and personal medical history, and ask about early detection screening.
Aneurysm risk factors you can control
There also are many risk factors you can control or manage with lifestyle changes. These include:
- Smoking: If you smoke, STOP. Smoking has been associated with the formation, growth and increased rate of rupture of aneurysms
- Alcohol abuse: If you drink, only drink in moderation. If you have any genetic risk factors for aneurysm, consider avoiding alcohol completely
- High blood pressure (hypertension): Help control your blood pressure through diet and exercise, and/or medication if your doctor recommends it
- Drug abuse: Avoid recreational drug use – especially cocaine
If you are at risk for a brain aneurysm, make the necessary lifestyle changes and talk with your doctor about early screening. It is also important to know the signs and symptoms so you can get essential and timely treatment.
Learn more about reducing your risk of brain aneurysm.