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An aneurysm is an abnormal widening of a portion of an artery, due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel. Some common locations for aneurysms include:
No one knows precisely what causes aneurysms. Defects in some of the components of the artery wall may be responsible. In certain cases (abdominal aortic aneurysms), high blood pressure is thought to be a contributing factor.
Cholesterol buildup in arteries amy be a factor contributing to certain types of aneurysms. Pregnancy is often associated with the formation and rupture of aneurysms of the artery leading to the spleen.
The symptoms vary depending on the location of the aneurysm. There may be swelling, throbbing, low blood pressure, high heart rate, and lightheadedness, or no symptoms at all. The main complications of aneurysm include rupture, infection, and compression of local structures. They may cause neurologic problems, stroke, disability, and death.