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Who Is at Risk for an Aneurysm?

Certain factors put you at higher risk for an aortic aneurysm. These factors include:

  • Male gender. Men are more likely than women to have aortic aneurysms.
  • Age. The risk for abdominal aortic aneurysms increases as you get older. These aneurysms are more likely to occur in people who are aged 65 or older.
  • Smoking. Smoking can damage and weaken the walls of the aorta.
  • A family history of aortic aneurysms. People who have family histories of aortic aneurysms are at higher risk for the condition, and they may have aneurysms before the age of 65.
  • A history of aneurysms in the arteries of the legs.
  • Certain diseases and conditions that weaken the walls of the aorta. Examples include high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

Having a bicuspid aortic valve can raise the risk of having a thoracic aortic aneurysm. A bicuspid aortic valve has two leaflets instead of the typical three.

Car accidents or trauma also can injure the arteries and increase the risk for aneurysms.

If you have any of these risk factors, talk with your doctor about whether you need screening for aneurysms.

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April 1, 2011