Why do aneurysms develop? There may be a number of reasons. Aneurysms may be caused by a hereditary defect, such as Marfan syndrome, or by aging: as our bodies age, our blood vessels lose some of their strength and resilience. But the most common cause of aneurysms is atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which weakens the walls of the blood vessels. Other causes include inflammatory diseases and some infectious diseases, like syphilis. Smoking and high blood pressure increase the risk of an aneurysm. Smoking not only contributes to atherosclerosis, it also causes aneurysms to grow more quickly. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the likelihood an aneurysm will rupture.
Most cerebral aneurysms are congenital, meaning that the person is born with them. Along with the other typical causes of aneurysms, like atherosclerois, cerebral aneurysms may also be caused by trauma or injury to the head and by drug abuse, particularly the use of cocaine.
These are the main risk factors for aneurysms:
- Atherosclerosis. Weakens arterial walls
- High blood pressure. Increases damage to blood vessel walls
- Smoking. Damages vessel walls, accelerates growth of aneurysm
- Disease. Including diabetes, syphilis, or Marfan's syndrome
- Congenital defects. For instance, an inherited weakness in the blood vessel wall
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