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In My Area

Support groups
  • Baltimore Brain Aneurysm Foundation Support Group

    Lutherville-Timonium, MD

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  • Bay Area Aneurysm and Vascular Malformation Support Group

    San Francisco, CA

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  • Beth Israel Deaconess Brain Aneurysm Support Group

    Boston, MA

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Causes/Risk Factors

Brain aneurysms develop silently. Some people may have inherited a tendency for weak blood vessels, which may lead to the development of aneurysms. Aneurysms in children are rare, and most aneurysms probably develop as a result of wear and tear on the arteries throughout a person’s lifetime. Occasionally, severe head trauma or infection may lead to the development of an aneurysm.

There are a number of risk factors that contribute to the formation of aneurysms, listed below. Two of the most significant are, fortunately, ones that can be controlled: cigarette smoking and high blood pressure (hypertension).

    • Smoking
    • High blood pressure (hypertension)
    • Strong family history of brain aneurysms (familial aneurysms)
    • Age (over 40)
    • Gender: women have an increased risk of aneurysms
    • Race: people of color have an increased risk of ruptured aneurysms
    • Other disorders: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, Marfan syndrome, and fibromuscular dysplasia
    • Presence of an arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
    • Congenital abnormality in the artery wall
    • Drug use, particularly cocaine
    • Excessive alcohol use
    • Infection
    • Severe head trauma

Risk Factors

Risk factors that doctors and researchers believe contribute to the formation of brain aneurysms:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Congenital resulting from inborn abnormality in artery wall
  • Family history of brain aneurysms
  • Age over 40
  • Gender, women compared with men have an increased incidence of aneurysms at a ratio of 3:2
  • Other disorders: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Polycystic Kidney Disease, Marfan Syndrome, and Fibromuscular Dysplasia(FMD)
  • Presence of an arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
  • Drug use, particularly cocaine
  • Infection
  • Tumors
  • Traumatic head injury

Risk factors that doctors and researchers believe contribute to the rupture of brain aneurysms:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • African-Americans at twice the rate of rupture of whites (a 2.1:1 ratio)
  • Hispanics at nearly twice the rate of rupture of whites (a 1.67:1 ratio)
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