Aortic Aneurysm Causes and Risk Factors
What raises my risk for aortic aneurysms?
You may have an increased risk of developing an aortic aneurysm because of your age, family history, , lifestyle habits, medical conditions, or sex.
Your risk for aortic aneurysms goes up as you age. Abdominal aortic aneurysms are most common in adults after age 65.
Family history and genetics
One in 10 people with abdominal aortic aneurysms have a family history of them. The chance of developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm is 1 in 5 for people who have a parent, brother, sister, or child with the condition, what is known as a first degree relative.
Several family or conditions increase your risk for a thoracic aortic aneurysm. These include:
- Ehlers–Danlos syndrome
- Loeys–Dietz syndrome
- Marfan syndrome
- Turner syndrome
- Familial thoracic aortic aneurysms
- Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), which is an abnormal aortic valve
Some lifestyle habits increase your risk of having an aortic aneurysm. These include:
- Cigarette smoking is one of the main factors that increases your risk for an aortic aneurysm, especially an abdominal aortic aneurysm. If you are a current smoker, an abdominal aortic aneurysm may grow more quickly and be more likely to burst.
- Stimulants such as cocaine, increase your blood pressure and your risk for an aortic aneurysm.
Medical conditions that are risk factors for aortic aneurysms include:
- Aneurysms of blood vessels in other parts of your body
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Cardiovascular conditions, such as atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and peripheral artery disease
- Unhealthy blood cholesterol level
- High blood pressure, which is the leading risk factor for thoracic aortic aneurysms but also a risk factor for abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Bacterial infections, which are a risk factor for thoracic aortic aneurysms.
- Kidney conditions, such as renal failure, chronic kidney disease, and polycystic kidney disease
- Pheochromocytoma, a rare of the adrenal gland that can lead to high blood pressure
- Trauma, such as from car accidents or falls, which is a risk factor for thoracic aortic aneurysms
Men are more likely than women to develop aortic aneurysms. However, an existing aneurysm is more likely to rupture at a smaller size in women than in men.
Race and ethnicity
Aortic abdominal aneurisms are less common in Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans.
Preventing aortic aneurysms
If you have risk factors for developing an aneurysm, your provider may recommend heart-healthy lifestyle changes to help prevent the condition, including: