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How can I reduce my risk of an aneurysm?

Dr. David W. Drucker, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

If you know you’re at risk for aneurysms, you need to notify your doctor. The biggest risk factor for developing an aneurysm is tobacco use. Smokers are at high risk for developing aneurysms. Smoking cessation not only may reduce your risk of developing an aneurysm but may also reduce your risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancer and long term pulmonary complications.

The second way to reduce your risk of aneurysm is to control high blood pressure. It makes sense that if you have an aneurysm, which is the weakening of a blood vessel wall, uncontrolled high blood pressure can actually adversely affect the weakened blood vessel wall. If you have an aneurysm, make sure that your blood pressure is well controlled and monitored by a physician, and be sure you’re eating a diet low in salt.

The last thing I would recommend is to be really careful about not overdoing it with exercise. We tell people who have aneurysms to avoid excessive heavy lifting and not to do exercises that would cause their blood pressure to excessively rise or increase the pressure in their abdomen.

You can help lower your risk of an aneurysm by taking these important actions:
  • If you use tobacco, stop now. Smoking or chewing tobacco is one of the strongest factors in developing an aneurysm. Quitting is the single biggest difference you can make in your health.
  • Control your blood pressure to protect your arteries from further damage. Medication, exercise, and weight loss can help.
  • Control your cholesterol. Keep your total cholesterol under 200 and your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) ("bad") cholesterol under 100. This can be done with medications and a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.
  • Follow a heart-healthy eating plan, which can keep your arteries healthy too. Eat a diet low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and salt and high in fresh fruits, fiber, and vegetables.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.