What Causes an Aortic Aneurysm?

November 12, 2012

What Causes an Aortic Aneurysm?

An abnormal bulging, swelling or any other kind of enlargement of the aorta isn’t a good sign and is more commonly known as an aortic aneurysm.

Why Do Aneurysms Occur?

In general, aneurysms occur when a part of the blood vessel gets weaker. This results in the blood pressure that flows through the blood vessel to create a bulge. Usually, this bulge will start out small, but will keep growing as the blood pressure continues. This might not sound like a big deal, but this condition is actually very dangerous because a ruptured aneurysm could lead to internal bleeding. Unfortunately, an aortic aneurysm can be present from birth. Conversely, it can develop because of an injury or disease, as well.

What are the Most Common Causes of Aortic Aneurysms?

Atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis refers to a damaged or clogged artery and is one of the most common causes of aneurysms, heart attacks and heart diseases. Sometimes, it is referred to as a condition of hard arteries, too, because it ends up calcifying later on. In general, atherosclerosis occurs when plaque sticks onto the blood vessel’s wall lining and weakens it.

High Blood Pressure Blood pressure levels that are unusually high can put stress on the aorta’s wall. As years pass, this could then lead to a bulge and then, eventually, an aneurysm in the aorta.


If diabetes is left uncontrolled, an accelerated and premature version of atherosclerosis could occur and damage the blood vessels, making them completely vulnerable to various conditions – including an aortic aneurysm.

Cystic Medial Necrosis

This condition occurs when the blood vessel wall’s medium layer degenerates and an unusual fibrous layer weakens its support system. This usually happens when rare genetic conditions like Ehlers-Danlos and Marfan’s syndrome are present. Sometimes, it happens during pregnancy or in people with heart diseases, too, though.

Mycotic Aneurysm

Whenever bacteria spreads into the arteries, invades the walls of the blood vessels and weakens them, a mycotic aneurysm tends to occur. Usually, the bacteria will get into areas that were previously weakened or damaged since birth. In the 20th century, syphilis was one of the most common causes of this particular condition, but this is no longer the case today.

Inflammatory Aneurysm

Psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions might inflame the walls of the blood vessel and if this condition is left untreated, it might weaken the aorta’s wall. In general, this will usually affect small and medium-sized blood vessels, though, and not the aorta itself.


Abdominal and chest injuries received from bad falls or car accidents could also damage the aorta and make it more vulnerable to a bulge and, eventually an aortic aneurysm.

A lot of the time, though, the causes of an aortic aneurysm might never even be found out.

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