What are the risk factors for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA)?

Joshua I. Greenberg, MD
Vascular Surgery
The risk factors for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) are smoking, followed by high blood pressure and male gender. Smoking is a prominent risk for the condition, and that is a very modifiable behavior.

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In this condition, the large blood vessel called the aorta that supplies blood flow to the abdomen, pelvis and legs, enlarges and balloons outward. If not detected and treated, the aorta can tear, presenting a life-threatening situation. Your risk is elevated:
  • If you have a family history of this condition, meaning others in your immediate family had this disease.
  • If you are over age 65.
  • If you are a man, since men have a higher rate of aortic aneurysm when compared to women
  • High blood pressure and a smoking habit raise your risk.
This is a life-threatening condition that can remain silent for years. An ultrasound, CT scan or MRI can diagnose the condition and allow for life-saving surgery.

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