Monday, May 13, 2013

Avoid An Aneurysm

Avoid an Aneurysm

An aneurysm is a weak point in the wall of a blood vessel, commonly caused by atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries. Trauma, infection and congenital defects are other culprits. Making the following lifestyle changes may help decrease your risk.


1. Maintain a healthy body weight, and exercise aerobically at least four times a week, 30 to 40 minutes each time. Exercising for 30 minutes every day is ideal.

2. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and high-fiber foods. Avoid fats, especially saturated fats such as those found in meat, butter and beef shortening.

3. Stop smoking if you do. Nicotine causes blood vessels to narrow and constrict, forcing them to work harder. The extra workload can make a weak spot rupture.

4. Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure makes the heart and blood vessels work harder. See "Prevent Hypertension."

5. Treat high blood pressure immediately. High blood pressure can cause an aneurysm to rupture. See "Treat Hypertension."

6. Check your cholesterol, and make major dietary changes if it's too high. If your cholesterol remains high despite the changes, ask your doctor about oral cholesterol-lowering medication.

7. Check your blood sugar. Chronic high blood sugar is harmful to arteries. Many times, free blood sugar tests are offered at grocery stores and pharmacies.

8. Ask your doctor to check you for syphilis. Chronic syphilis can cause an aneurysm.

9. Avoid constipation. Straining to move your bowels is hard on your heart and blood vessels. Eating a healthy diet and exercising daily should keep you regular. Consult your doctor for persistent constipation.

10. Avoid chronic stress, which causes blood vessels to narrow, raising blood pressure and making the heart work harder. Reduce your workload, listen to relaxation tapes, take a yoga class and avoid overscheduling.

11. Take an aspirin every other day, unless otherwise specified by your doctor. Aspirin helps keep plaque from building up inside veins and arteries.

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