I Had a Brain Aneurysm — Will My Children Have It Too?

Jan 02, 2024
 I Had a Brain Aneurysm — Will My Children Have It Too?
An aneurysm is any blood vessel (usually an artery) with weakened walls that allow the vessel to expand in a balloon-like way. Cerebral aneurysms can be life-threatening. In some cases, these aneurysms run in families.

An aneurysm is any blood vessel (usually an artery) with weakened walls that allow the vessel to stretch to more than 50% of its normal width. This abnormal weak spot can continue to balloon out over time and without treatment, ruptures are possible. 

While the most common location for an aneurysm is the aorta, cerebral aneurysms can be devastating, causing hemorrhaging in the brain that could be life-threatening. It will surprise many to learn that sometimes, brain aneurysms have a genetic connection. Having immediate family members with aneurysms increases your risk of developing these too. 

Most brain aneurysms are small and they won’t rupture, and most people who suffer from leaking or ruptured aneurysms don’t have a genetic connection. However, aneurysms generally have no symptoms until they rupture, so you may have an aneurysm without knowing. 

There are some cases where symptoms develop, and having a genetic link to an aneurysm condition could be reason enough to choose an examination with Coast Neurosurgical Associates. We’re brain aneurysm specialists, so we can diagnose and treat your condition to prevent an unexpected bleeding event in the future. 

Symptoms of aneurysms

Aneurysms can sometimes cause symptoms without rupturing if the bulge in an artery presses against nearby nerves, such as the optic nerve from the eyes. In that case, you may experience problems with an eye, such as lost vision or irregular movement. You may have eye pain and, in rare cases, you could develop headaches, though these are more common after rupture. 

Otherwise, the first symptoms usually arrive with a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). In this case, a sudden headache that’s often described as the most severe headache ever is a common sign. Other symptoms of an SAH include: 

  • Locational pain, such as around the eyes
  • Dilated pupils and light sensitivity
  • Neck stiffness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Changes to your mental state, such as sleepiness or lost coordination
  • Balance difficulties
  • High blood pressure
  • Functional problems with the facial areas controlled by the cranial nerves
  • Pain in the back or legs

Uncontrolled bleeding in the brain is a medical emergency that can result in a coma or death. 

I had a brain aneurysm -- will my children have it too? 

While there’s an increased risk of having a brain aneurysm when a close blood relative has one, it’s not inevitable. It is, however, a good reason to screen for the condition, since it often shows no sign until a life-threatening event occurs. 

If you’ve had a brain aneurysm, it’s a good practice to have your children checked for aneurysms of their own. 

Other brain aneurysm risk factors include: 

  • Being over the age of 30
  • Being female
  • Suffering from high blood pressure
  • Smoking cigarettes

Managing high blood pressure and quitting smoking can reduce your chances of developing aneurysms. Certain medical conditions, such as fibromuscular dysplasia, Marfan syndrome, or polycystic kidney disease can increase your risk of cerebral aneurysm. 

There are a range of treatments available to stop the risk of aneurysm rupture. The first step is an exam with our team of doctors at Coast Neurosurgical Associates in Long Beach California. Book your appointment by using the online link or by calling the office directly. Stay one step ahead of aneurysms and plan your visit, for yourself or your children, today.