Occasionally the pressure inside an artery can stretch the wall and a “blow out” (similar to what happens in a car type) can occur. The most common area for this to happen is in the abdominal aorta, which is the large artery feeding blood to the pelvis, kidneys and legs. Often, aneurisms cause no symptoms and are found by chance on a routine examination or X-ray. They may cause an aching abdominal pain which can become very severe. The major danger is rupture or bursting of the aneurism, so treatments which can reduce the stress on the aorta, strengthen it and improve its elasticity may help.

What Doctors Can Do

• Investigations: X-rays, ultrasound, CT or MRI scans, plus blood tests.
• Treatments: if the blood pressure is elevated this is usually treated, and if the aneurism exceeds a certain size, surgical repair is necessary.

What you can do – Lifestyle

It is best not to raise the blood pressure too much, so hard physical exercise and weight lifting should be avoided. Make sure that your blood pressure is well under control. If the abdominal pains become worse then see your doctor quickly.

Nutritional supplements

• A good multivitamin/multimineral: to make sure that the aorta has all the nutrients and minerals it requires to stay strong.
• Omega 3 fish oils, 1-2 grams daily, improve the elasticity and strength of the aorta wall.
• Calcium and magnesium, 800-1,000mg/day, help the arteries to relax and can help lower blood pressure.
• Grape seed extract (proanthocyanidins) reduces inflammation and can aid healing.

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